Vastly different than conventional military weapons and aircraft, hypersonics systems are game-changing for national security, providing unprecedented speed and maneuverability. Operating at more than five times the speed of sound, these systems can alter course after takeoff, making them hard to intercept. The U.S. government’s proposed fiscal year 2022 budget for hypersonics research and development is $3.8 billion, representing a nearly 20% increase from the previous year.
Developing vehicles capable of traveling at over a mile per second — speeds that cause vehicle surface temperatures to heat up to 2,200 degrees Celsius — presents daunting engineering challenges for hypersonics materials and systems.
To address these hurdles and enhance U.S. hypersonics capabilities, the University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH) has tapped the Georgia Institute of Technology and key academic partners for four grants valued at $6 million over the next three years. The awards draw on Georgia Tech and the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) expertise across advanced, high-temperature materials science and aerospace and mechanical engineering research — areas critical for future advances of these vehicles.
“Hypersonics research is a big area of focus for Georgia Tech. It’s an area where the College of Engineering and GTRI can really collaborate and build upon GTRI’s strong foundation to be a real force in hypersonics,” said Devesh Ranjan, Ring Family Chair and associate chair for Research in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, who also serves as co-director of UCAH.
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