Hypersonic aircraft are more realistic thanks to a ceramic coating

From Engadget - July 9, 2017

The trick was to rely on a different manufacturing technique, reactive melt infiltration, to give the coating a unique structure that's both extremely strong and resistant to oxidization.The next-best conventional coating, zirconium carbide, can withstand heat but is prone to degrading.

Any commercial use of the coating is a long ways off, if just because the hypersonic vehicles themselves are still a distant prospect.If it works well in practice, though, those extreme speeds would be feasible without compromising safety, especially in the long term.You'd see hypersonic aircraft that could fly you to another side of the planet within a couple of hours, and spacecraft that could return to Earth without needing frequent ceramic tile inspections and replacements.In short, flights that were once extra-risky could become virtually commonplace.


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