Can anyone highlight the basis of having 22 NO’s of segment in wing leading edges of space shuttle.
The maximum size of individual RCC components is limited, from a practical sense, by the deflections of the structure and the linear growth that can be accommodated conveniently in the design as the material expands at high temperature. The WLE is made up of 44 RCC panels (22 for each wing) where as the nosecap is one piece. The RCC panels are mechanically attached to the wing with a series of floating joints to reduce loading on the panels caused by wing deflections and differential thermal expansion. The seals between wlng leading edge panels, referred to as "T-seals," are made of RCC. They allow lateral motion for thermal expansion between the RCC and wing structure, and prevent the direct flow of hot boundary-layer gases into the WLE cavity during entry.
Image source - CAIB Report
Answered by Organic Marble on December 30, 2021
Some of the information here comes from Wikipedia, some of it comes from my engineering intuition which may be wrong.
There are probably at least three reasons for building the leading edge in many sections.
Answered by user21103 on December 30, 2021
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