Flying in Hot

Superman versus…The Human Torch?!!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

What if our planes could fly “faster than a speeding bullet” – like Superman? But high speeds cause aircraft surfaces to get REALLY hot! How can we cool our jets?

Enter Zhe Liu from Florida State University. Her team developed a heat shield using tiny tubes made out of CARBON. This carbon can be found in diamonds and coal, but is thinner than a strand of hair!

Liu mixed a tub of these powdery carbon nanotubes with a plastic resin. Once dried, this produced a flexible, light-weight skin that coats the aircraft. To test the carbon heat shield, they brought out the FLAME TORCH!

Results? The shield stopped the heat at the surface, protecting the aircraft underneath.  Unlike normal heat shields that can be thick and heavy, this protective skin is lighter. Every ounce matters during flight! It can also stretch with the underlying materials, which can expand when heated.

Researchers believe this can be used on newer, high-speed fighter jets or spacecrafts.

Now that’s keeping cool under a heated situation!