World's Most Heat-Resistant Material Can Survive Over 4,000 °C

The revolutionary creation will prove extremely useful in heat-loaded materials used in aircraft.
Fabienne Lang
Uses for the new materialMISIS

A new ceramic material with the highest known melting point has been created by scientists from the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) MISIS in Russia. 

Thanks to its combination of components, it could prove extremely useful for heat-loaded materials used in aircraft, such as nose fairings, jet engines, and sharp edges of wings that operate at temperatures above 2,000 degrees Celcius (3,632 degrees Fahrenheit). 

Their findings were published in Ceramics International.


Most heat-resistant material ever created

Thanks to its unique combination of physical, mechanical, and thermal properties, the ceramic material has huge potential in the space and aviation industries.

Most of the world's space agencies, such as NASA, ESA, among others, are actively looking into creating reusable spaceplanes. This would ultimately reduce the cost of bringing people and cargo up to orbit, as well as minimizing time intervals between flights. 

World's Most Heat-Resistant Material Can Survive Over 4,000 °C
The NUST MISIS team who worked on the project, Source: NUST MISIS

"Currently, significant results have been achieved in the development of such devices. For example, reducing the rounding radius of the sharp front edges of the wings to a few centimeters leads to a significant increase in lift and maneuverability, as well as reducing aerodynamic drag," explained Dmitry Moskovskikh, head of NUST MISIS Center for Constructional Ceramic Materials.

"However, when exiting the atmosphere and re-entering it, on the surface of the wings of the spaceplane, temperatures of about 2000 degrees C can be observed, reaching 4000 degrees C at the very edge."

He continued, "Therefore, when it comes to such aircraft, there is a question associated with the creation and development of new materials that can work at such high temperatures."

World's Most Heat-Resistant Material Can Survive Over 4,000 °C
Team member working on the project, Source: NUST MISIS

The team chose the triple hafnium-carbon-nitrogen system, hafnium carbonitride (Hf-C-N).

Veronika Buinevich, NUST MISIS post-graduate, explained "It's hard to measure a material's melting point when it exceeds 4000 degrees С. Therefore, we decided to compare the melting temperatures of the synthesized compound and the original champion, hafnium carbide."

The team then linked it to a battery that used molybdenum electrodes. Ultimately, their results showed that the carbonitride had a higher melting point than hafnium carbide. 

It has to be pointed out that as the laboratory could not safely withstand temperatures above 4,000 degrees Celcius (7,232 degrees Fahrenheit), and the melting point of the new material is indeed higher than 4,000 degrees Celcius, the end result could not be precisely determined. 

The team will continue to work on the project and has plans to carry out experiments on measuring the melting temperature by high-temperature pyrometry using a laser or electric resistance.