Hypersonic vehicles traveling at speeds exceeding Mach 5 can reach temperatures exceeding 2200 °C (4000 °F), far exceeding the melting point or operational temperatures of most materials. Advanced high-temperature composites (e.g., C-C, CMC), refractory alloys, and thermal barrier coatings are being developed to support hypersonic flight. Quantifying the mechanical behavior of these advanced materials is critical to the development of materials with sufficient properties to perform under hypersonic conditions.
Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has developed a facility capable of characterizing the mechanical behavior of advanced high-temperature composites and refractory alloys at temperatures exceeding 2200 °C (4000 °F) to ensure their integrity at these extreme temperatures.
Mechanical testing includes:
- Interlaminar shear
- Interlaminar tension
- Fracture toughness