The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is working on development of new materials that would protect hypersonic vehicles from the extreme heat associated with flying at speeds that could reach or exceed Mach 5 — five times faster than the speed of sound.
Sponsored by DARPA’s Defense Sciences Office, the agency will hold a Proposers Day for its related Materials Architectures and Characterization for Hypersonics (MACH) program, at its Arlington, Va., offices, in order to seek materials and solutions to address the problem.
“The key is developing scalable materials architectures that enable mass transport to spread and reject heat,” said program manager Bill Carter.
While the issue has proved challenging, DARPA is encouraged by recent technological advancements that could lead to a resolution.
The agency will take a two-pronged approach to finding the answer it seeks.
First, it intends to foster development and maturation of a “fully integrated passive thermal management system” that would cool leading edges of hypersonic aircraft. Then, the plan entails development of next-generation materials. DARPA plans to provide more details in mid-January, when it issues a broad agency announcement on its Federal Business Opportunities web page at http://go.usa.gov/Dom.