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Ultra-high Temperature Ceramics

Novel ceramic materials to withstand temperatures up to 3000°C

Background

At atmospheric re‑entry a spacecraft has such high speeds that the molecules of air are broken apart, generating electric plasma and such enormous heat that a special thermal protection system is required to enable the aircraft for further reuse.

Ultra-high temperature ceramics (UHTCs) are candidate materials for use in extreme conditions, for example, hypersonic flight, atmospheric re-entry vehicles and thermal protection systems (TPS) for rocket nozzles as they typically possess good chemical stability, high thermal conductivity, high strength and melting points over 3000°C. Although these materials may be brittle and may fail when exposed to sudden high heat fluxes, they are highly applicable for use in ultra-high temperature ceramic matrix composites (UHTCMCs).

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