The dependence of materials erosion in rain at supersonic velocities up to 1700 m/s (5500 ft/s) has been determined as a function of velocity, impingement angle, and aerodynamic heating. The erosion rate of materials has been found to vary with the 4.5 to 6.5 power angle. Coupled heating and erosion effects are highly significant for polymeric composites. The effects of shock layer breakup, acceleration, deflection, and deformation of the droplets have been quantitatively assessed, and damage gradients in materials are shown to be a function of primarily droplet distortion and breakup resulting from drop traversal of the shock layer around the vehicle.
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