Experimental Investigation on the Specific Heat of Carbonized Phenolic Resin-Based Ablative Materials

  • Te Zhao
  • Hong YeEmail author
  • Lisong Zhang
  • Qilin Cai


As typical phenolic resin-based ablative materials, the high silica/phenolic and carbon/phenolic composites are widely used in aerospace field. The specific heat of the carbonized ablators after ablation is an important thermophysical parameter in the process of heat transfer, but it is rarely reported. In this investigation, the carbonized samples of the high silica/phenolic and carbon/phenolic were obtained through carbonization experiments, and the specific heat of the carbonized samples was determined by a 3D DSC from 150 \(^{\circ }\hbox {C}\) to 970 \(^{\circ }\hbox {C}\). Structural and compositional characterizations were performed to determine the mass fractions of the fiber and the carbonized product of phenolic which are the two constituents of the carbonized samples, while the specific heat of each constituent was also measured by 3D DSC. The masses of the carbonized samples were reduced when heated to a high temperature in the specific heat measurements, due to the thermal degradation of the carbonized product of phenolic resin in the carbonized samples. The raw experimental specific heat of the two carbonized samples and the carbonized product of phenolic resin was modified according to the quality changes of the carbonized samples presented by TGA results. Based on the mass fraction and the specific heat of each constituent, a weighted average method was adopted to obtain the calculated results of the carbonized samples. Due to the unconsolidated property of the fiber samples which impacts the reliability of the DSC measurement, there is a certain deviation between the experimental and calculated results of the carbonized samples. Considering the similarity of composition and structure, the data of quartz glass and graphite were used to substitute the specific heat of the high silica fiber and carbon fiber, respectively, resulting in better agreements with the experimental ones. Furthermore, the accurate specific heat of the high silica fiber and carbon fiber bundles was obtained by inversion, enabling the prediction of the specific heat of the carbonized ablators with different constituent mass fractions by means of the weighted average method in engineering.


Carbon/phenolic composite Carbonized ablators 3D DSC High silica/phenolic composite Specific heat 



This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51576188)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Thermal Science and Energy EngineeringUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Beijing Institute of Space Long March VehicleBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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