Scientists have recently designed a new ceramic material of high-strength that can tolerate prolonged exposure to supersonic airflow at temperatures higher than 2600 degree Celsius. The researchers from Far Eastern Federal University (FEFU) and the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) said that the material they developed has excellent characteristics which is promising for application in aviation industry including the construction of nose cones and wings of the newest type of aircrafts.
Using technologies such as Sol-Gel and Spark Plasma Sintering, the scientists synthesized the novel material from a compound of hafnium diboride (HfB2) combined with nanocrystalline silicon carbide (nc-SiC). The material strength was tested through a high-frequency induction plasmatron, under the influence of supersonic airflow. The ceramic composite wasn’t affected even after a 40-minute supersonic airflow exposure, experiencing just a mass loss of 0.04%, while the oxidized layer was 10-20 micrometers thick under these conditions. Further, there was no formation of fields of low SiC content, and the experiment confirmed that the ceramic sample is highly durable.
According to Evgeniy Papynov, one of the researchers, high-tech ceramics can be used in aviation industry, for the sharp edges of wings in aircrafts and the base structure of nose cones. These features are often exposed to high temperature fluctuations at the time of super-speed heating, Papynov added. He is a senior researcher at FEFU’s Institute of Chemistry and a researcher at the Lab for Nuclear Technologies at School of Natural Sciences at FEFU.
Scientists at FEFU have been developing and testing new extremely high-strength ceramic material since the last five years, and continuing in collaboration with RAS’s institutes, situated in Far East and in Moscow.
RAS’s Kurnakov Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry has been creating the raw materials, while the Institute of Chemistry is developing technologies for the combination of components by implementing an innovative technique for producing ceramics such as spark plasma sintering. In the FEFU labs, detailed studies of the physicochemical properties of the samples are conducted and mechanical characteristics are determined in a comprehensive way.
Materials priority research project in FEFU is cooperated by various talented material scientists, physicists, chemists, and biologists. Following many years of research work, the scientists have made remarkable progress in the development of ceramic material that can not only high durability but also withstand extremely high temperatures.