Numerical Simulation of Laser Ablation Propulsion Performance for Spherical Capsule

  • C. XieEmail author
  • D. T. Tran
  • K. Mori
Conference paper


The purpose of this research is to study the performance of laser ablation propulsion with a numerical method based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD). We focus on the propulsion performance when pulsed laser beam is irradiated on a 10-mm-diameter spherical model. In this paper, 1.3 mm pulsed laser beam and a so-called donut-mode laser beam were both done to validate a simple numerical method without laser ablation model under 10 kPa – 100 kPa ambient pressure. The flow field quantities were solved with three-dimensional Euler equation by finite volume method. Blast wave energy conversion efficiency ηbw and momentum coupling coefficient Cm were both investigated by comparing between numerical simulation and experiment. Specifically, a so-called explosion source model is used to simplify laser ablation process and estimate blast wave energy conversion efficiency ηbw in this numerical method. Relatively good results of ηbw and Cm are obtained with this method. Finally, results of donut-mode laser beam simulation are presented about blast wave expansion andCm.


  1. 1.
    A. Kantrowitz, Propulsion to orbit by ground based lasers. Aeronaut. Astronaut. 10, 74–76 (1972)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    L. Myrabo, D. Messitt, F. Mead, Jr., Ground and flight tests of a laser propelled vehicle, in 36th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit, 1998Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    D. Messitt, L. Myrabo, F. Mead, Jr., Laser initiated blast wave for launch vehicle propulsion, in 36th AIAA/ASME/SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit. 2000Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    L. Myrabo, World record flights of beam-riding rocket lightcraft-Demonstration of “disruptive” propulsion technology, in 37th Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit, 2001Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    S. Kim, I.-S. Jeung, J.-Y. Choi. Numerical Study on Thrust Performance Evaluation of Laser Propulsion during Supersonic/Hypersonic Flight, in AIP Conference Proceedings. Eds. Andrew V. Pakhomov, and Leik N. Myrabo. Vol. 766. No. 1. AIP, 2005Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    H. Chen et al., Numerical simulation of air-breathing nanosecond laser propulsion considering subsonic inflow and multi-pulse. Optik-Int J Light and Electron Opt. 125(14), 3444–3448 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    H. Katsurayama et al., Numerical analyses of exhaust and refill processes of a laser pulse jet. J. Propuls. Power 24(5), 999–1006 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    H. Katsurayama, K. Komurasaki, Y. Arakawa, A preliminary study of pulse-laser powered orbital launcher. Acta Astronaut. 65(7), 1032–1041 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    J.M. Vadillo et al., Effect of plasma shielding on laser ablation rate of pure metals at reduced pressure. Surf. Interface Anal. 27(11), 1009–1015 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    C. Phipps et al., Review: Laser-ablation propulsion. J. Propuls. Power 26(4), 609–637 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    N. Farid et al., Emission features and expansion dynamics of nanosecond laser ablation plumes at different ambient pressures. J. Appl. Phys. 115(3), 033107 (2014)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    S.-B. Wen et al., Expansion of the laser ablation vapor plume into a background gas. I. Analysis. J. Appl. Phys. 101(2), 023114 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    S.-B. Wen et al., Laser ablation induced vapor plume expansion into a background gas. II. Experimental analysis. J. Appl. Phys. 101(2), 023115 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    K. Mori, R. Maruyama, K. Shimamura, Energy conversion and momentum coupling of the sub-kJ laser ablation of aluminum in air atmosphere. J. Appl. Phys. 118(7), 073304 (2015)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    S.H. Jeong, R. Greif, R.E. Russo, Numerical modeling of pulsed laser evaporation of aluminum targets. Appl. Surf. Sci. 127, 177–183 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    A. Bogaerts et al., Laser ablation for analytical sampling: What can we learn from modeling? Spectrochim. Acta B At. Spectrosc. 58(11), 1867–1893 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Z. Chen, A. Bogaerts, Laser ablation of Cu and plume expansion into 1 atm ambient gas. J. Appl. Phys. 97(6), 063305 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    T. Sakai, Impulse generation on Aluminum target irradiated with Nd: YAG laser pulse in ambient gas. J. Propuls. Power 25(2), 406–414 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    K. Mori, R. Maruyama, Launch capability of a conceptual laser-launch system of a spherical vehicle and a dunut-mode beam, in 54th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting, 2016Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    K. Mori, K. Komurasaki, Y. Arakawa, Energy transfer from a laser pulse to a blast wave in reduced-pressure air atmospheres. J. Appl. Phys. 95(11), 5979–5983 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Aerospace EngineeringNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan

Personalised recommendations