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Modelling Ablation From Solar Flux

  1. Apr 11, 2013 #1
    Hey Folks,

    I'm working on a new problem in a field I don't have much experience in at all and looking for some high level guidance to get me started.

    For a certain material I want to calculate how much that material ablates in the presence of steadily increasing radiation flux from the sun.

    It's for some modelling I'm doing for a solar sail type structure that would initially fall toward the sun, hence experience a time dependent solar flux intensity.

    Are there any models, papers or keywords anyone can shoot my way to get me started?


  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 16, 2013 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    What material? One would have different rates of 'ablation' for Li, Al or W.

    There are three factors, the solar proton (or particle) flux, the radiative flux (photons) and the temperature of the material. One then needs to model the interaction of the radiation with the surface atoms at the temperature.

    I doubt solar sails would 'fall' toward the sun as the radiation pressure would increase as the sail approached the sun. Solar sails have been envisioned as low thrust methods of traveling away from the earth and sun - into the outer solar system.
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