The world of aerospace increasingly relies on carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites to build the structures of satellites, rockets and jet aircraft. But the life of those materials is limited by how they handle heat. Engineers are now developing a design for a heat shield that better protects those extremely fast machines.
But the life of those materials is limited by how they handle heat.
A team of FAMU-FSU College of Engineering researchers from Florida State University's High-Performance Materials Institute is developing a design for a heat shield that better protects those extremely fast machines. Their work will be published in the November edition of Carbon.
"Right now, our flight systems are becoming more and more high-speed, even going into hypersonic systems, which are five times the speed of sound," said Professor Richard Liang, director of HPMI. "When you have speeds that high, there's more heat on a surface. Therefore, we need a much better thermal protection system."
The team used carbon nanotubes, which are linked hexagons of carbon atoms in the shape of a cylinder, to build the heat shields. Sheets of those nanotubes are also known as "buckypaper," a material with incredible abilities to conduct heat and electricity that has been a focus of study at HPMI. By soaking the buckypaper in a resin made of a compound called phenol, the researchers were able to create a lightweight, flexible material that is also durable enough to potentially protect the body of a rocket or jet from the intense heat it faces while flying. READ MORE (Science Daily)