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Indian Journal of Engineering & Materials Sciences

Vol. 5, October 1998, pp. 271-277

Thermal stress analysis of a solid rocket motor nozzle throat


insert using finite element method
R C Mehta", K Surcsh " & R Narayana lyer"
"Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, Trivandrum 695 022. India
'Department of Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering. Trivandrum 695 016, India
Received 22 September 1997; accepted 20 April 1997

A finite element formulation is developed for the analysis of axisymmetric, transient, anisotropic
heat conduction problem with the temperature dependant thermo-physical material properties of a
graphite throat nozzle for the solid rocket motor. A standard Galerkin method using linear triangular
element is employed for the space discretization. The time integration is done using an implicit time
marching scheme of the first order differential equation. The convective heat transfer coefficient is
calculated using the Bartz correlation. A thermal stress analysis is also carried out on the graphite throat
of the nozzle using finite element method with two degrees of freedom. The developed computer codes
for this purpose are validated with known analytical solution and available ANSYS code.

4
A convergent-divergent nozzle is used as a difference method. Lee has obtained temperature
propulsive device in the launch vehicle. The nozzle distribution inside a nozzle of a solid rocket motor
expands high pressure and temperature gases from employing finite difference method. Henderson) has
subsonic to supersonic velocities. Modern high computed in-depth temperature response by solving
energy solid propellant produces combustion gases heat conduction equation with temperature-
of high temperature in order to enhance the specific dependent thermal properties.
impulse. The throat region of the convergent- The finite element method can easily solve a heat
divergent nozzle is therefore, exposed to high conduction problem for a complex geometrical
temperature and pressure environment as compared configuration. Various grid arrangement can be used
to other zone of the nozzle. The structural failure of to accommodate a complex geometrical configura-
the nozzle material may occur if the temperature tion and resulting simultaneous equations can be
exceeds the permissible operating design limit. A solved by using standard algorithm." The finite
thermo-structural analysis is required for satisfactory element technique to solve a heat transfer problem is
performance of the solid rocket motor. reported elsewhere in detail. A two-dimensional
Analytical and numerical methods are available heat conduction equation with time dependant
to obtain temperature distribution inside the heating condition at one surface of the specimen and
material. Carslaw and Jaeger' have obtained solution a radiation boundary condition at the other end is
for a simple geometrical configuration. A numerical solved using finite element method by Mehta et a/.x
algorithm to solve heat conduction problem The stress analysis of axisymmetric configuration
employing finite difference method is described in is described by Zienkiewicz. To the authors' best
detail by Rosenberg.' The finite difference approach knowledge, a coupled thermo-structure analysis of a
needs jacobian transformation to change rocket nozzle is not available in open literature. The
discretization from physical to computational main aim of the present paper is to investigate
domain, or special mathematical treatment to be thermo-structural analysis of a graphite throat insert
done to take into an account irregular boundary of of a typical solid rocket motor nozzle. A finite
the nozzle wall. element analysis is carried out to solve axisymmetric
Swaminathan and Rajagopalarr' have ana lysed transient anisotropic heat conduction equation with
the nozzle heat transfer problem using finite temperature dependant thermal properties.
272 INDIAN J. ENG. MATER. sci., OCTOBER 1998

Temperature distributions are computed at each The general procedure for solving Eq. (I) is to
node point and at each time interval for a given evaluate the Galerkin residual integral with respect
convective heat transfer coefficient variation. Using to space coordinate for a fixed instant of time. This
the computed temperature profile at the end of yields a system of ordinary differential equation
motor bum-out time, the displacements and resulting solved to obtain temperature distribution. The n
thermal stresses are computed using finite element equations can be written in a matrix form as
method. This coupled thermo structural analysis is dT
validated using ANSYS software." [C]-+[K]T={j} .. (7)
dt
Heat Transfer Analysis where [C], [K] and {f} are capacitance, stiffness
The governing axisymmetric transient anisotropic and load vector matrix, and can be written as
heat conduction equation with temperature [C] = Iv pCI' [N] r [N]dV (8)
dependant thermal properties can be written as
[K] = Iv[kr 8[Nl' 8[N] +k, 8[Nl' 8[N]]dV (9)
!~(rkr aT)+~(kz aT)= pCI' aT (I) ar 8r az az
r ar ar az az or
with the following initial and boundary conditions:
T= To on region t = 0 . (2)
j = Ir [N]" ur.:-T)dr ... (10)

and where V is the volume of the element that is equal


to 27r rcAe about z axis, rc is the centroid of the
DT triangular element.
-k-=h(T,,...-T) onsurfaceratt>O ... (3)
Dn Time integration
where k. and kz are the thermal conductivity in radial and The set of ordinary differential Eq. (7) which
axial directions, respectively. p is the density of the defines the discretized problem is solved using
material, ep is the specific heat of the material, / is time, implicit time marching a scheme. The equation can
h is convective heat transfer, n is the outward normal be written for time level n to n+ I as
and Taw is combustion gas temperature. The other sides
of the nozzle wall are insulated. [C] +[p]/r'+1 = [C](Tf + jn ... (11)
~t ~r
The spacewise discretization of Eq. (I) subjected where [P] is combination of [C] and [K] matrix.
to the above boundary condition can be The algorithm is unconditionally stable and
accomplished using Galerkin method. Let the convergent in the context of finite difference.
unknown function temperature T be approximated Numerical experiments have been done at different
throughout the solution domain at any time t by the values of aspect ratio and time-step in order to
relationship verify the stability of the algorithm.
n
T= I N, (r,z)T; (I) ... (4) Grid generation
i=1 The finite element solver requires the element
where N, is usual shape function defined element coordinate and connectivity in the domain of
by element, T; being the nodal parameters. For a computation. An algebraic procedure is used to
typical triangular element e with nodes numbered generate a triangular element. A schematic sketch of
anticlockwise as i, j, k and placed at vertices of the the nozzle insert is displayed in Fig.l. The outer
triangle, the shape function N, is wall and inner wall of the nozzle insert are
N;= a+br+ca represented as rtop(z) and rw(z). The radial increment
... (5)
where is computed as difference of inner and an outer wall
radius divided by number of sub division. The grid
is structured. Therefore, the connectivity of the
2 A" triangular elements is obtained using recurrence
(z-z.) relation. Fig. 2 shows typical grid arrangement in the
bi = '--"..I----'~ ... (6)
2 A" nozzle insert.
(n - r ,)
Numerical stress analysis
c, = 2 A'"
In the axisymmetric problem of a nozzle throat
and Ae is the area of the element, e. insert, a cylindrical coordinate system is taken in
MEHTA et al.: THERMAL STRESS ANALYSIS OF SOLID ROCKET MOTOR 273

computation of thermal stress. The strain equation d b b o


for the axisymmetric configuration can be written as
(l')' = (l'rr eflll ezz erz] (12) E b d b o
[D]=- · .. (17)
(I:)' = [G'" G'HH l:zz l:rz] (13) 1+ fJ b b d o
kr;' = [a()T asr aOTo] (14) o 0 0 1
2
where {e} is the total strain, {s} is the elastic strain where d=( 1-J.1)/(1-2J.1) and b=J.1I( 1-2J.1), J.1 is the
and {cr} is the thermal strain, a is the coefficient Poisson's ratio. The stress vector components for
of thermal expansion and '&T is the change of axisymmetric case can be written as
temperature. The above elastic and thermal strain
vector can be written as {cr}T=[crrrcrOOcrzzcrrz] ... (18)

{ e} = { s} + {G°r} . . . (15) Displacement calculation


the stress can be calculated using following Hooke's The general expression for displacement can be
law:
written as

{ a}=[D]{E} ... (16) u=f(r,z), w=g(r,z) and v=0 · .. (19)

where [D] is the material stiffness matrix and can where u, v and ware displacement in r, and z e,
be written as directions, respectively. The strain displacement
relationship is given as
aw
rr
au
e =-, eoo=-,
ar
u
r =:«
· .. (20)
au aw
boundo.ry 'r:C'.i: ~
erO =0,
er;:= az e:o=O +7);'
~he unknown displacements can be written in
terms of element nodal values
U}i-/

Ulj./
· .. (21)
NOZZLE AX1S
Inner boundo.r y (WQll) U!k·/

Fig. 2-A typical grid system for the graphite throat nozzle

Fig. I-A schematic sketch of a nozzle throat


274 INDIAN J. ENG. MATER. SCt., OCTOBER 1998

It can be written in matrix form as Table I gives the geometrical parameters of G I


and G2 for typical nozzle throat inserts of a solid
{u}=[N]{ue} ... (22)
rocket motor. The nozzle G 1 was modelled by 456
By differentiating equation 21 using the strain nodes and 784 triangular elements while G2 was
displacement relationship, we get modelled by 648 nodes and 1166 triangular
elements. The non-linear temperature dependent
s.o ) i 0 bk 0
thermo-physical and other material properties of
graphite were taken from Table 2. The convective
1 2A N I 0 2A Nj 0 2 AN k 0 heat transfer coefficient for the analysis is calculated
(e)=- r r r from Bartz correlation II
2A
0'
h = 0.026 j..Jo·C''K [ p, ]o.X[ D,h ]0.'[ ~ ]o.y a
D~i/ r-" C' . R' A""
c, b, c , b, c, b, ... (3\)
(23) and
It can be written in matrix form as I
a= ---------::-=------
e
{e}=[B] {u } . (24) J~l~l+r-1 M1]+0.5}1.r..I[I+!-1 M"]0.'5
2rc 2 2
The element stiffness matrix can be given as . . . (32)
[K]=[Bf[D][B]Jv dv (25) where ,"4 is Mach number and Tg local gas
temperature. The characteristic velocity C', the
[K]=27tA r. [Bf [D] [B] (26)
The column vector associated with the thermal
Table I--Geometrical parameters of nozzle throat inserts
change is
Jv[BHD]{ET}dv=21t rcA[B]T[D]{ET} .. (27) Type and "rop rexit r, r, a p
Identification of
The integral involving the boundary condition for a Nozzle
load vector can be expressed as Graphite Throat, G I 247 217 165 176 40 15

U;l=JdNl'[;}r ... (28)


Graphite Throat, G2 238

Table 2-Properties
Property
208 153 150

of graphite':'
Graphite
25 15

where pr and pz are the surface stresses in the rand Xo +7.07390E+01


z directions. Thermal conductivity XI -3.76325E-D2
K.(n X2 +9.5842IE-D6
The element stress components are calculated XJ -8. I 8337E-1O
after finding out the nodal displacements by finite
element method, then by Hooke's law -7.10309E+01
Thermal conductivity -3.60873E-D2
{cr}=D( {e}-{ET}) ... (29) K,(D +7. I4803E-D6
+ 1.69792E-1 0
The stress components as a function of the
element a nodal displacements and thermal strain -5.991012E+02
vector are Specific heat -4.76525E+00
C,,(D -3.08595E-D3
... (30) +6.56786E-D7
Density 1700.0
Coefficient of thermal 487x10-6
Results and Discussion expansion
Using the above finite element formulation, the Modulus of Elasticity 9.20x 10Q
thermostructural problem of a graphite throat nozzle Poisson's ratio 0.11
is analysed. The computer programme developed is Kz(7)=Xo+XI T+X2r+XJTJ W/mK
validated for heat transfer and thermal stresses (

A',(7)=}'o+ }'I T+ r27~+ rJT.l W/mK


separately. The validation cases are described in
detail elsewhere!". Co(7)=Lo+LI T+L27-2+L3TJ .l/kg K
MEHT A et al.: THERMAL STRESS ANALYSIS OF SOLID ROCKET MOTOR 275

Table 3-Properties of combustion products'? 3000 r----::==.-:::=:::::::------------..,


2750
Properties HTPB+NH4CI04
Chamber Pressure, P; (N/m2) 2500
4.415E+06
Chamber Temperature, Tc(K) 3410.0 2250
Specific heat Cpg(J/kgK) 1716.55
1.\5 2000
Ratio of specific heats y
Characteristic velocity C· (m/s) 1582.25 '" 1750
<II
Molecular weight, W (kg/kmol) 29.0
~ 1500 __ nozzle mer Slrface
_._nozzle outer surface

specific heat, Cpg and chamber temperature T; are


i 1250
'"' 1000

computed from combustion gases in frozen 750


composition. Chamber pressure P; corresponds to
500
the test condition and the combustion gas
properties were used for the convective heat flux 250 -.--.---.-.--.~
calculation are taken from Table 3. o ~ __ ~ __ ~ __ ~ __ -L__~ __~ __~~~

The temperature distribution on the nozzle wall of -so -100 -50 o 50 100 150 200 250
Oistance.mm
graphite throat nozzle G I is shown in Fig. 3 and the
Fig. 3- Temperature distribution on the nozzle wall of
isothermal contour plot at various locations are
graphite throat nozzle G I
shown in Fig 4. The throat region of the nozzle is
attained a maximum temperature of 2977 K after the
specified period of performance of the motor. The l\T=92
convergent region experiences a temperature of the
range of 2825-2950 K and a divergent region is
having a range of 2925-2700 K. The convective
heating of the nozzle liner causes, the high
temperature at the inner wall and the maximum
value of convective heat transfer coefficient is at the
throat region. The minimum temperature is at the
Tmax=2977K
outer wall and at the region corresponding to throat
and nearby. The maximum throat material at this Fig. 4;-Isothermal contour plot for graphite throat nozzle G 1
region is the reason behind this minimum
temperature. In a divergent region, this temperature
increases due to less throat material. The maximum 4000
heat transfer coefficient of 14900 W1m K is at the
3500
throat region and minimum at the exit region of the
divergent of the nozzle which are calculated
employing the above mentioned Bartz's correlation.
The heat transfer coefficient increases from the
convergent region up to throat and then decreases.
3000

2500
- -
In nozzle G2, the temperature distribution of the
walls of a nozzle and isothermal contour plots are as __ Nozzle mer surface

in Figs 5 and 6. Here also, the maximum _._ Nozzle outer Slrface

temperature of 3014 K, which is more than the first


1000
.case, is at the throat region. The minimum
temperature of 303 K is at the outer wall region
corresponding to the throat area where maximum
throat material exists. The convective heat transfer
500

o ~ __
_._.
-L
__ ._-_.- -.--.--
L-__-L L-__-L L-__~
coefficient plot is similar like G 1, nozzle. By -100 -50 0 50 100 W 200 250
comparing nozzle G I and G2, it reveals that the heat
transfer behaviour of nozzles are similar. Fig. 5- Temperature distribution on the nozzle wall of
The model taken for the structural analysis is the graphite throat nozzle G2
276 INDIAN J. ENG. MATER. scr., OCTOBER 1998

G I nozzle. The temperature distribution at all nodal noticed at the node, which is the last comer node of
points determined by thermal analysis is an input for the inner surface of the nozzle. At this node'
the structural analysis purpose along with the -region, the boundary is free to expand. The radial
pressure applied inside the boundary of the nozzle as direction displacement is maximum at the nodal
shown in Fig. 7. The zero displacement on the point near the throat region and value is 0.12236
lateral boundary is considered assuming a rigid mm.
assembly of the nozzle insert with the back-up The distribution of stresses are obtained such as
material. The pressure distribution is assumed (Jz, o, and (Js For the sake of the brevity, we are
constant along the inner wall of the nozzle. presenting the o, and (Jz in Figs 8 and 9. In all the
However, the calculation can be carried out with the these cases, the compressive stresses are acting on
varying pressure distribution. The boundary the inner surface of the nozzle and change to tensi Ie
condition for structural analysis is also shown in the towards the outer wall. It is noticed that the throat
same figure. region and the inner surface are subjected to high
The nodal displacement at each node is compressive stress. The inner surface is under the
determined in z and r directions. Displacement v is compressive stresses and changes to tensile stresses
taken zero due to the axisyrnmetry condition. toward the outer surface.
Maximum value of displacement is 0.040697 mm The stress values obtained by the finite element

bouncJary whtrt displ.lctmqnt IS as sumeo zero


B
~T=94
A c

Pr~ssur€ & Ibet ma t loa,<.J

Tmax=3014K
Fig. 7-Schematic sketch of a nozzle throat with application of
Fig. 6--lsothennal contour plot for graphite throat nozzle G2 pressure and thermal load with boundary condition

re
H.lS
-~-Z'.7l
.s.; 7.HZ
-L- -10.Z3
-"-
~
-Z7.70
-, s . 17
~ -1l.64
----L- -eO.lO
_J._ -97.~7
f
-r is .«

Fig. 8-Distribution of stress c,

...!.2- lB."
~ U.7!
_8 _ _S.O&l
_7 _ _2LH
_1._ _u.eo
..5- -70."
..k-- -92. S2
_3_ -11'"
-L- -1-:16.2
, -1~a.l
,-

Fig. 9-Distribution of stress cr,


MEHTA et al.: THERMAL STRESS ANALYSIS OF SOLID ROCKET MOTOR 277

IIICSI'S 4.411 system of first order differential equation. The


JIll 9 1991
13:42:47 displacements and stresses formed inside the
POSTl STIOS
ST[P:l
ITU:1
graphite throat nozzle is calculated using finite
SlI (AU(;)
S'LOIA!.
element method in conjunction with temperature
1m ~.I22882
SIIH :-115.158
distribution obtained from the thermal analysis. The
SIIII:-lSZ.388
SIIX :42.177
computer program generated for the solution of
SlIXI:87 .592
thermal analysis is validated against an analytical
ZV :1
DlST:I98.776 solution available. The numerical values are found
xr :2116
o
tt
D
:-51 :211
-11:1.158
-~7.676
in good agreement with the analytical solutions. An
ANSYS 4.4 software is used to validate the
l~ :~:m
'0 --45.m
computer program for stress calculation. The
I0 -a7.7~ computed results are found in good agreement with
10 -16.268
I mJ 7.214
;0 24.6~5
the software results.
~ 42.177
!i References
I Carslaw H S & Jaeger J C, Conduction of heat in solids
y 2nd Ed. (Oxford University Press, London), 1959.

+" 2 Von Rosenberg D U, Methods for the numerical solution


of partial differential
Publishing Co, New York), 1969.
equations (American Elsvier

Fig. IO--Distribution of stress SX corresponding to o, 3 Swaminathan V & Rajagopalan S, A mathematical model


for the heat transfer of rocket motor nozzle walls, in
Multiphase flow and heat transfer symposium workshop.
method and the computer code is validated by a (Hemispherical publishing corporation, Washington),
software ANSYS 4.4, which deals with the thermal 1980,527-541.
4 Lee R E, Measurements and correlation of heat transfer in
and structural problems. The model selected for the
a solid propellant rocket nozzle, NOL TER-64-163, 1964.
validation is same as that of nozzle G I. The 5 Henderson H P, Correction of the measured and predicted
boundary conditions applied are also the same. The in-depth thermal response of multidimensional woven
stress plots are shown in Fig. 10. Comparing the carbon/carbon ITE under static test firing conditions.
results obtained by the computer code and ANSYS AIAA paper No. 79-1218, 1979.
6 Segerlind L J, Applied finite element analysis (John Wiley
program, it is understood that they are in good
and Sons, New York), 1982.
agreement with each other. 7 Zienkiewicz 0 C, The finite element methods in
engineering sciences (McGraw-HilI. London), 1971.
Conclusions 8 Mehta, R C, Jayachandran, T & Sastri, V M K, Wdrme-
In this thermostructural analysis of a rocket und Stroffubertragung, 22 ( 1988) 227.
nozzle, a numerical method has been developed for 9 ANSYS 4.4. Software. developed by Swanson Analysis
solving an axisymmetric, transient, anisotropic heat Corporation, USA.
10 Suresh, K, Thermostructural analysis of a solid rocket
conduction equation with temperature dependant
motor nozzle throat insert using finite element method.
thermo-physical properties. For the numerical M.Tech.Thesis, University of Kerala, 1997.
simulation finite element method is used due to its II Bartz, D R, Jet Propulsion, 27 (1957), 49-51.
ability to handle the arbitrary geometry, initial 12 Scout Nozzle data book. NASA CR-145136, 1976.
conditions, boundary conditions and material 13 Gordon, S & Mcbride B, Computer program for
calculation of complex chemical equilibrium
properties. Linear triangular elements have been compositions. rocket performance. incident and reflected
used for the space discretization. An implicit time shocks and Chapman-Jouget detonations, NASA SP-273.
marching scheme is used for time integration of the 1971.