While airplanes have greatly advanced our modes of transportation, researchers are looking to advance even further by creating planes that can travel at hypersonic speeds. These planes would leave Earth’s atmosphere where it would fly five times faster than the speed of sound and then re-enter Earth’s atmosphere when arriving at the destination. Just imagine the amount of time this would save for travelers. Mr. Omar Cedillos from the Department of Materials at Imperial says that a trip from Los Angeles to New York would take only 15 minutes. Before these planes can be built, researchers must first figure out a way to make them able to withstand extreme temperatures as hot as 2,000 degrees Celsius. For this they have turned to a group of materials that can withstand temperatures above 3,000 degrees Celsius called Ultra High Temperature Ceramics (UHTC). They have also looked into hafnium carbide because of it’s extreme hardness and ability to handle temperatures around 3,950 degrees Celsius. The other factor to consider is that when the plane re-enters the atmosphere it would experience a large amount of heat due to friction. Researches will have to discover a coating that can protect the plane from degradation. If they are able to successfully create this new aircraft, it could revolutionize travel.
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