Anderson, Daehn collaborate on multi-university hypersonic flight materials research

Posted: October 20, 2021

The Department of Defense Joint Hypersonics Transition Office awarded over $25 million to 18 teams through the University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH). This inaugural cohort of grant recipients will work in concert with industry and select national labs and R&D centers to advance U.S. hypersonic capabilities.

Engineers from The Ohio State University team will collaborate with researchers from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University (lead institution), Georgia Tech, Texas A&M, and Spirit AeroSystems on a three-year, $1.5 million project, Impact Welding and Phase Change Enabled Sealing of High Temperature Metal-Composite Interfaces.


The award aims to tackle a materials challenge: hypersonic vehicles in the Mach 5-10 range require high temperature metals for structural stability, but these metals interfere with the operation of sensors and electronics communications needed for vehicle guidance. A seemingly straightforward approach is to incorporate windows in the airframe through which the guidance systems can function. However, the extreme temperatures, thermal expansion mismatch and forces associated with hypersonic flight challenge the ability to keep windows tightly joined and sealed to the airframe during hypersonic flight.

Glenn Daehn

Materials Science and Engineering Professors Peter Anderson and Glenn Daehn provide expertise in two key areas: high-impact joining of dissimilar materials and advanced simulation capabilities to predict the response of shape memory alloys under complex thermal and mechanical environments.

The team will develop a thermal-tolerant seal capable of withstanding the extreme conditions inherent to hypersonic flight. Their proposed prototype design uses high temperature shape memory alloys as a gasket to seal windows to the airframe. The underlying scientific and engineering challenges are to design, process, and deploy a material that will undergo a solid-state phase change at critical stress and temperature conditions sufficient to keep windows sealed throughout a hypersonic flight.

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