Aeronautics & Space

Next-gen spacecraft: In-development solid oxide fuel cells offer bipropellant enabled electrical power supply

By Lisa McDonald / September 20, 2022

Mass and volume limitations make it challenging to load a spacecraft with all the equipment needed for a mission. An effort led by the Air Force Research Laboratory is developing a solid oxide fuel cell that converts chemical energy in a spacecraft’s bipropellant into electricity, thereby allowing an existing spacecraft component to be used as an auxiliary power supply.

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Cosmos creation—exploring formation of ceramic materials in space

By Lisa McDonald / July 22, 2022

The universe contains many complex chemistries and phenomena yet to be discovered or explained. Two recent studies offer a glimpse into how some ceramic materials may form in space.

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New method shows promise repairing localized damage in thermal barrier coatings

By Lisa McDonald / July 12, 2022

Repairing localized damage in thermal barrier coatings on aircraft turbine blades can require full coat removal and reapplication to avoid blocking cooling holes in the blade. Forschungszentrum Jülich researchers proposed a new laser-cladding-based additive manufacturing technique that shows promise repairing localized damage without the need for full coat removal.

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Toward next-gen environmental barrier coatings—effect of thermal ageing on microstructure and elastic properties of ytterbium silicates

By Lisa McDonald / May 10, 2022

Ytterbium-based silicates are a current generation of environmental barrier coating materials that demonstrate much promise for protecting ceramic matrix composite components in jet engines. Researchers from the University of Manchester examined the effect of thermal ageing on microstructural characteristics and elastic properties of these silicates.

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Mullite precursor method may be a game changer for fabricating ceramic matrix composites

By Lisa McDonald / April 22, 2022

Oxide–oxide ceramic matrix composites have desirable properties for use in engine components, but conventional processing techniques usually require high temperatures and pressures, which damage the oxide fiber. Researchers in India developed a one-step process for synthesizing mullite precursors that could lower sintering temperature.

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Video: Startup company looks to launch new method of spaceflight

By Lisa McDonald / February 2, 2022

Finding another way to propel a rocket into space that does not rely on fuel may allow for simpler and less expensive rockets. California-based SpinLaunch is developing a novel ground-based system to launch rockets into orbit using kinetic energy rather than fuel.

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Video: Personal VTOL aerial vehicles headed to consumers in 2022

By Lisa McDonald / January 19, 2022

Attention on futuristic technologies such as driverless cars, flying cars, and foldable smartphones fell largely by the wayside when the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020. Swedish company Jetson, though, has been hard at work behind the scenes and this year plans to ship the first 12 units of its personal electric aerial vehicle to consumers.

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Interdisciplinary is so 2021; Ceramics are interplanetary

By Jonathon Foreman / January 14, 2022

In a recent open-access ACerS journal article, ACerS Distinguished Life Member Alex Navrotsky and Arizona State graduate research assistant Megan Householder discuss how the study of planets shares many of the same analytical and computational frameworks as materials science.

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Video: James Webb Space Telescope’s 30-year journey to launch

By Lisa McDonald / January 12, 2022

In December 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope finally launched after decades of delays. Today’s CTT looks at JWST’s 30-year journey to launch and ways that NASA could restructure its approach to large-scale projects in the future.

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The potential of ceramic matrix composites as aerospace radomes—researchers investigate new way to prepare ceramic fibers

By Lisa McDonald / October 29, 2021

Ceramic matrix composites have numerous applications in aerospace, including as radomes to protect sensitive radar devices in an aircraft’s nose. Researchers in China investigated a new way to prepare polymer-derived ceramic fibers for radome composites.

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