It is discovered in the researches that hafnium carbide and carbide materials can resist the scorching temperatures of around 4000 degrees Celsius.
In fact, a team from the Imperial College of London found that hafnium carbide has the highest melting point, even recorded. Being able of withstanding the high temperatures can pave a way for these materials for being used in the extreme conditions like in heat resisting shielding for preparation of the hypersonic space vehicles.
Hafnium carbide (HfC) and Tantalum carbide (TaC)(heat resistant materials) are kind of refractory ceramics, which means that they are very much resistant to the heat. They have the ability to withstand very harsh conditions, and this is why refractory ceramics can be used within the thermal protection systems for high-speed automation as well as fuel cladding within super-heated nuclear reactors. But, there is no way of testing melting points of both materials in labs for finding out the functioning of materials in extreme environments.
In a study published in the journal “Scientific Reports,” researches have made a novel heating technology for using the laser in order to test heat tolerances of HfC and TaC. They implemented the technique of laser heating for finding the point where these materials get melted, both in mixed form and in separate forms.
They noted that in mixed form (Ta0.8Hf0.20C), they remain consistent and melted at 3905°C, however, in a separate form, they’re melted at much high temperatures; 3958°C and 3768°C for HfC and TaC respectively.
According to researches, new findings can pave a way for the making of next level hypersonic vehicles, making spacecraft much steadier than ever.
The Associate Professor, Dr. Omar Cedillos-Barraza, at the University of Texas, done a study during his Ph.D. He found that the friction linked with traveling on Mach 5 at hypersonic speed, can create extremely high temperatures.
Up till now, HfC and TaC don’t serve as the potential candidates to be used in hypersonic aircraft. However, the new findings have shown that they are able of withstanding even high heats as compared to previously thought – higher than all other compounds. This shows that these materials can be used for spacecraft which can fly in the atmosphere such as a plane before they reach the hypersonic speeds for shooting out into space. Such materials may make spacecraft to withstand extreme heat generations due to flying off and flying back into the atmosphere.”
Few examples of uses of both materials are the nose caps in spacecraft and edges of instruments which need to withstand high friction whilst flight.
Dr. Cedillos-Barraza further found that the tests show that the materials can be promising in real for the engineering of the future space vehicles. Being able of withstanding the extreme temperatures show that the missions that involve hypersonic space crafting may become a manned mission. For instance, the flight between London and Sydney may take only 50 minutes, which would open new commercial opportunities for various countries of the world.