Researchers at RMIT University in Melbourne developed 3D printed catalysts to power hypersonic flight and also act as a cooling agent to combat the extreme heat generated when aircraft fly at or above Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound) which is around 6,100 kilometres per hour (km/h). Such speeds would allow commercial airlines to be able to fly between London and New York in around 90 minutes.
The cataylsts are created in metal alloys by a 3D printer and coated in synthetic minerals known as zeolites. When the metal is hot, it reacts with the zeolites. “Our lab tests show the 3D printed catalysts we’ve developed have great promise for fuelling the future of hypersonic flight,” said lead researcher Dr Selvakannan Periasamy. The findings have been published in the Royal Society of Chemistry journal Chemistry Communications.