High Temperature Composite Scramjet manufacturing pilot successfully completed – Hypersonix portfolio goes reusable
Hypersonix has taken delivery of a technology demonstrator version of its hydrogen powered scramjet manufactured in High Temperature Ceramic Matrix Composites (HTCMCs) from a leading European aerospace manufacturer. HT CMCs are capable of resisting repeated cycles of extreme heating and cooling, which makes them a material of choice for Hypersonix’ planned re-useable hypersonic vehicles.
The multi-award-winning SPARTAN scramjet engine is now available in Inconel 718, 3D- printed in Australia in cooperation with Amiga Engineering, capable of speeds of up to Mach 7. This technology demonstrator project has perfected the design and techniques required to offer a version that can operate at speeds of up to Mach 12 and sustain the rigours of repeated flights. When traveling at Mach 5 or higher speeds, the high heat generated by friction can compromise the structural integrity of various critical parts of hypersonic vehicles.
High Temperature Ceramic Matrix Composites (HTCMCs) are the next generation composites developed for application in the harsh conditions of heat and mechanical pressures required for high Mach number flight. Qualification of these materials for hypersonic applications required the manufacturing of demonstrators that replicate the complex geometry of scramjets, allow the analysis of hydrogen and air flows within the engine, and can be produced rapidly and economically.
Hypersonix is currently building DART AE, an unmanned hypersonic flight demonstrator designed to allow customers to investigate flight conditions, data transmission and manoeuvrability at hypersonic speeds.
DART AE will also be able to gain valuable data and insights on hypersonic operations at a much more affordable price than currently available from other hypersonic programs.
The DART AE flyers will be 3D-printed out of high temperature alloys, enabling quick turnaround between flights, high cadence of testing and rapid availability of additional units. They will be single-use.
Customers are now expressing a need for re-useable, aircraft like operation, with landing gear and flexible launch options. Hypersonix’s end game is all about re-usability. The completion of the manufacturing pilot of a composite scramjet is a major development for the company.
A SPARTAN scramjet engine made of composites will fly faster on longer missions, turning the self-igniting engine off and on again several times during the flight and skipping through the atmosphere like an airplane.
Michael Smart, CTO, Head of R&D and Co-Founder Hypersonix said: “It was a huge moment for the Engineering team to unpack our composite SPARTAN version which has been designed by our team and produced in a very complex and never done before process working very closely over the last 2 years with a team of experts in Germany. We have been very grateful for their willingness to take this project on and bringing their expertise and input to the table.”
Quote David Waterhouse, Managing Director: “Although we are focussing most of our energy this year on setting up our DART AE manufacturing capacity, Hypersonix is already working on the next steps in our product roadmap, taking the composite scramjet to a manufacturing ready state. Australia is leading the world in scramjets and hypersonic technology, Hypersonix is looking to capitalise on our leading position, with the support of Commonwealth grants. High Temperature Composite technology is in its infancy in Australia, so we are working with various parties to speed up applications, and would welcome orders from Australia and state government’s support in maturing and making HT composite products here.”
Hypersonix manufactures and operates hydrogen fuelled scramjet powered Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. These provide a modular solution to multiple military and commercial markets.
Nina Patz, Email: [email protected]