The thermal output of an aluminum powder/liquid oxygen Thermal Radiation Simulator (TRS) is approximated to that of a rectangular pulse. The output varies as a function of time. The rise and fall times are not relatively abrupt. The problem is how to quantify the thermal output of the TRS into terms of a rectangular pulse.

Within the nuclear weapons effects community, flux, or the transient intensity of thermal radiation energy onto a surface, and fluence, the total energy irradiated onto a surface over a given time, are the determining parameters for specifying or evaluating an article’s survivability in the thermal environment. Four methods are used to determine the TRS output for these two parameters, assuming the output to be a perfect rectangular pulse. It was essential to determine which of the four methods best quantified the thermal output average flux and fluence. The four methods were compared by a computational experiment run on a personal computer.

The experiment was a simulation of five actual TRS traces irradiated onto a fictitious aluminum plate. The temperature profile of the front surface was computed using a finite difference method calculation. The traces were evaluated using the four characterization methods, generating twenty ideal thermal pulses. The temperature profile of the plate was computed using the twenty ideal thermal pulses. The resulting profiles were compared to profiles generated by the actual data to determine which of the characterization methods best evaluated the TRS output.

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