The era of hypersonics is well upon us. These vehicles and projectiles reach speeds greater than Mach 5 and maneuver far outside the ballistic trajectories followed by previous generation systems. It is especially fitting that overcoming the challenges presented by hypersonics has become a race amongst countries and competitors to jet across the finish line first. Fortunately, Mentis Sciences is able to help overcome the unique challenges presented by operating in this demanding regime, which we will go over in greater detail.
One of the primary challenges for Hypersonic Vehicles is thermal management. Traveling at hypersonic speeds in the atmosphere creates an extraordinary amount of friction and air resistance. Because of this, hypersonic systems are exposed to extreme heat externally and internally. Traditional cooling mechanisms and materials are not up to the challenge. Instead, new and novel approaches to active cooling are being explored, and lightweight heat shields and thermal protection systems are being developed to keep aerostructures, sensors, and electronic systems functioning as designed.
Hypersonics are designed to navigate through contested environments and overcome a wide array of defenses. If done correctly – and using its unprecedented speed to its advantage – hypersonic vehicles can keep their target a mystery until the last few seconds of flight. The challenge is ensuring that hypersonic systems maneuver as intended despite the heat, forces and aerodynamic difficulties associated with controlled flight at these extreme velocities. As part of the extensive modeling and simulation of new designs, families of metallic, ceramic and composite materials are being investigated and developed to so their part in guiding hypersonics to their target.
Long-Range Communication Capabilities
For unmanned hypersonic systems, constant and reliable communication is the key to success. As such, electronics embedded within hypersonic vessels need to maintain flawless and secure communications with command and control networks. From a technological point of view this means dealing with problems such as communication blackout caused by plasma generation around the vehicle. From a material and design perspective, antennas, RF windows and apertures need to be able to survive and predictably function under extreme thermal shock.
Advanced Composites and Materials
New and advanced materials are undoubtedly going to play a key role in developing vehicles that can withstand the extreme conditions of hypersonic travel. These materials must function at the high temperature generated during hypersonic flight and maneuvering, but must also survive intense vibration, thermal shock, and pressure of the hypersonic environment. Mentis has been at the forefront of the design, testing and fabrication of polymer and ceramic matrix composite materials for over 25 years, and understands the challenges that system analysts and designers face in the development of hypersonic systems.
Though designing and developing material solutions for tomorrow’s hypersonic systems may come with it’s fair share of challenges, Mentis Sciences doesn’t shy away – we embrace them. Contact Mentis today or review some of our latest projects online to see our areas of expertise and how we can assist you with the needs of your aerospace manufacturing project.