A $9.8 million US Air Force Research Laboratory contract will team the University of Tennessee System; Purdue University; and the University of Dayton Research Institute on research and development of materials and structures for reusable hypersonic vehicles to travel at speeds greater than five times the speed of sound.
The University of Dayton Research Institute is the lead institution on the project.
At sea level, a speed five times the speed of sound translates to approximately 3,800 miles per hour— such extreme velocity that intense heat is generated by the vehicle. Understanding how that heat is transferred to the vehicle by the aerodynamic environment is critical to the vehicle design, according to H.H. Arnold Chair John Schmisseur, professor of mechanical, aerospace, and biomedical engineering at the UT Space Institute.
“Understanding the origin and transmission of the intense thermal loads generated on a hypersonic vehicle requires identification of regions of significant local heating that are often the greatest source of risk to the vehicle surface,” Schmisseur said. “Fortunately, within the UT System, we have outstanding capabilities for just such a complex analysis.”