Unmanned aircraft flying in the upper atmosphere.
Reusable spacecraft would make space exploration both more cost-effective and accessible, which is why space agencies have been actively pursuing their development. However, spaceplanes are subjected to extreme temperatures on exiting and re-entering the atmosphere. So, materials which can withstand the scorching temperatures are needed in their construction.
Scientists from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) in Moscow have now fabricated a ceramic material which is more heat resistant than any other.
The previous material to hold the title of “most heat resistant” was tested in 2016 by a team from the Imperial College London. Using a laser heating technique which allowed them to test the material at extreme temperatures, they calculated that a chemical compound of the elements hafnium, a transition metal, and carbon had the highest melting point ever recorded at the time. Their findings showed hafnium carbide melted at just under 4000 degrees Celsius.