In space and aviation industries, materials with an extremely high temperature resistance is crucial. Some metal alloys can withstand up to 2,000 degrees Celsius (a typical metal only goes up to 1,200). However, scientists at the TSU and Institute of Strength Physics and Materials Science SB RAS, plan to raise the bar substantially and are aiming at inventing ceramics that can withstand up to 3,000 degrees Celsius.
Sergey Kulkov, head of the TSU department of the Faculty of Physics and Engineering and head of the laboratory ISPMS SB RAS, explains that this will be achieved by creating a new multi-layered ceramic material. Different types of ceramics based on a zirconium diboride, hafnium carbide and oxide combination, could increase protection provided to objects during reentry to the atmosphere, and allow the temperature in the combustion chambers of jet engines to be increased dramatically. This will help usher in a new generation of engines.
A test sample of the multilayer ceramic will be placed in plasma flowing at hypersonic speed in a special installation at the head institute of Roscosmos State Corporation. To prove that the scientists are on the right track, the multilayer ceramic has to remain intact in the initial test for at least 20 seconds while being exposed to 2,200°C.
If successful, the new material could also be used to measure temperatures in the combustion chambers of jet engines. Currently, thermocouples with sapphire tips used for diagnostic fail, as they can’t withstand the intense heat.