Monday, March 30, 2009

Boeing is Using Tungsten for the new Hypersonic Vehicle: X-51A Programme


The intense heat generated by hypersonic speeds creates thermal management requirements even outside the engine structure.

The X-51A is wrapped in special, spray-on treatments derived from the Space Shuttle called Boeing lightweight ablative coatings, which can withstand surface heat up to 1,260°C.

The coatings allowed the programme to use conventional alloys, rather than special composite materials, in the structure. For example, a nearly 31kg aluminium frame forms the majority of the engine structure, despite a material melting point of only about 150°C. The nose is formed from a 68kg tungsten block, rather than more exotic and risky composite materials. [...] Read more...

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