The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded the University of Dayton Research Institute a $9.8 million, three-year contract for research and development in materials and structures for reusable hypersonic vehicles.
Hypersonic vehicles, which travel at speeds faster than five times the speed of sound, experience significant thermal and aerodynamic loads, said Steven Olson, group leader for structures in the Research Institute’s aerospace mechanics division, who will serve as principal investigator on the program.
“Designing vehicles that can survive extreme environmental stresses is critical but challenging, requiring unique structural configurations and advanced materials,” Olson said. “Our role will be to focus on understanding the mechanical and thermal loads experienced by hypersonic vehicle structures, then work to identify the best materials and create preliminary designs for select airframe structures.”
They are working to make better ceramics and ceramic matrix composite materials.