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In London for dinner—with an Australian ceramic rocket

Hypersonic flight will allow passengers to travel at up to five times faster than the speed of sound (Mach 5). A flight  between Melbourne and London would take about two hours. Jets have already been built that can achieve these speeds for a few seconds, but maintaining those conditions for an entire flight remains a challenge: and it’s partly a materials challenge.

So Melbourne researchers are doing rocket science with clay.

They have developed a cheaper and more efficient way of making the complex, heat-resistant, ceramic parts needed to build tomorrow’s rockets and hypersonic airliners.

Using clever chemistry to modify a standard method of casting ceramics in a mould, they have developed an alternative to the traditional technique of forming these ceramics as blocks at high temperatures and pressures. And their new method, a form of slip casting, allows them to generate ultra-high-temperature ceramic components at lower temperatures and pressures, which do not require extensive machining, hence saving time and energy.

Read the full article at Fresh Science stories of discovery from early-career researchers around Australia

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