The 2009 JPL-Caltech Summer Titan SURF Project


  • Mentor(s): Tim Colonius, Jeff Hall
  • Project Description: The purpose of this SURF project is to perform computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations of the aerodynamic and thermal behavior of a Montgolfiere balloon for exploration of Titan. Following a successful exploratory study of laminar free convection during the summer of 2008, existing efforts are underway to extend previous CFD models to turbulent free convection, internal and external to spherical balloons, to consider double-walled balloon geometries, and, finally, to consider balloons during ascent and descent (with combined forced/free convection). These models will be available for the student, and his/her research would be to perform a parametric study of heat source strength, heat source position, and balloon geometries, use flow visualization software to examine flow fields, and compare the predicted average thermal behavior and net buoyancy with existing JPL system-level models. In addition, the student would design and examine the benefits/penalties of internal baffles for optimization of internal free convection.
  • Recommended Prerequisites: ME 18, ME 19