The new material is being described as potentially revolutionary in the aerospace industry, for its ability to resist temperatures of up to 3,000° C – the level of heat generated by moving at five times the speed of sound.
Hypersonic travel is defined as moving at Mach five or more.
The scientists at the University of Manchester and Central South University in China who developed the material claim that the carbide coating is 12 times more effective than conventional ultra-high temperature ceramics (UHTCs) used on other hypersonic vehicles like rockets, re-entry spacecraft and defence projectiles.
"Future hypersonic aerospace vehicles offer the potential of a step jump in transit speeds. A hypersonic plane could fly from London to New York in just two hours and would revolutionise both commercial and commuter travel," said Philip Withers of the University of Manchester.
In addition to resisting both heat and oxidation, the coating was created using a process called reactive melt infiltration, which dramatically reduces the development process. The coating is also reinforced with carbon-carbon composite, making it extremely strong and resistant to regular surface degradation. — AFP Relaxnews