Russia develops materials for hypersonic aircraft

Hypersonic (speeds over 5 times the speed of sound) material needs to withstand extreme temperature of up to 1,500 degrees Celsius for a long time. Russia already has developments in carbon-based composite materials. “We have achieved significant results in this area, and Russia takes one of the first places in the world in the development of such materials,” a message from the organisation said, RIA Novosti reports.

A hypersonic aircraft will also need to be piloted at altitudes of up to 30-50 kilometers in highly rarefied air.

Scientists also have to create a new type of engine that could be operable above ramjet speeds (mach 3-4) and at supersonic ramjet (scramjet speeds)

“Russia had its own developments in the field 20 years ago, and now we use the legacy for new scientific achievements,” the message from the above-mentioned organisation also said.

Russia trying to regain competitiveness in carbon composite material

In the 20th century, Russia was a world leader in the development and use of carbon-fiber technologies, which are the foundation of composite materials. Materials based on carbon fibers possess unique properties. They are 10 times as strong and four times as light as metal.

In 2013, Russia adopted a roadmap for the material. They plan to produce composite materials worth $1.9 billion by 2020, with 10 percent of the materials being exported.

“Rosatom, along with the Kompozit holding company, intends to produce cheap but top-quality polyacrylonitrile [PAN] fiber,” says Alexander Uvarov, head of the specialist publication Atominfo. “It requires a very expensive infrastructure.”

In the spring of 2015, Russia launched the Alabuga-Volokno fiber plant, which the Kompozit holding company built for Rosatom. The first stage of the plant cost 3.3 billion rubles ($53.2 million).

Rosatom is also planning to build the second stage of the plant with four production lines. The company hopes that by 2020 it will be able to increase annual production to 10,000 tons and account for 7 percent of the global carbon fibers market.