Ultra high temperature ceramics use may lead to hypersonic air travel soon
Hypersonic speed aircrafts doesn’t look that far away with scientists working on technologies for a faster air travel. UK researchers are developing prototype technologies that could see new types of aircrafts travelling at hypersonic speeds. Flying five times faster than the speed of sound, these aircrafts will cut the long travel times to very short ones. The hypersonic speeds will provide enough power to the plane that it will leave the atmosphere of earth and after flying through space, it will re-emerge as approaching near its destination. However, creating a material that can withstand high temperatures is the main challenge in making hypersonic travel a reality. Currently, Ultra high temperature ceramics are the only materials that can withstand such high pressure and temperature.
Exceptionally durable, strong chemical bonds of Ceramics make it a useful material in harsh, extreme pressure and high temperature environments. Researchers at the Centre for Advanced Structural Ceramics at Imperial College London have been making use of structural ceramics in number of fields that includes aerospace industry too. UHTC hafnium carbide can withstand temperatures in excess of 4050°C and can be used to shield the most vulnerable such as the wings and nose cone of a plane. The friction between atmosphere and the aircraft can generate a lot of heat which can destroy the plane. Thus, hafnium carbide can provide safety to the plane from this enormous heat.