Published on April 10th, 2018 | By: April Gocha ctt
We’ve seen trends in faster flight heat up over the past few years—including both efforts to travel at supersonic (Mach 1–Mach 5) and hypersonic (>Mach 5) speeds.
For instance, NASA has been public about its plans to develop a series of X-planes that use a host of new technologies to develop and test entirely new aircraft designs.
Just recently, NASA announced that it will start building one of its concept X-planes that can travel at supersonic speed sans the supersonic boom. Engineered to redirect supersonic shockwaves coming off the plane, the aircraft design prevents the loud boom noise that has historically accompanied—and prevented—supersonic travel.
Plus there are plenty of indications that even faster hypersonic planes are now in development, or perhaps even already built. Other countries are speeding towards hypersonic travel, too—China reportedly is making significant progress towards realizing its goals to lead the world in hypersonic technologies.
The ability to travel faster is good news for reducing travel time. But aircraft that travel at such fast speeds pose an engineering challenge because of the high temperatures their materials must withstand.
Additively manufactured ceramic matrix composites are enabling new possibilities for commercial
jet engines today by enabling higher operating temperatures, but when it comes to supersonic and hypersonic
speeds, even ceramic matrix composites can’t take the heat.