Materials being developed for hypersonic aircraft

Added by: A. Nozdrovická, 21.2.2018, 288 visit

After spending three years at Queen Mary University in London, Peter Tatarko returned to Slovakia. He received a grant from the Marie Skłodowska-Curie scholarship scheme, which will enable him to do research in his native country for the next two years. He is cooperating with the world's largest manufacturer of civil aircraft, for which he is developing special ceramic material. In his own words, developing something reusable that can survive a 2000 degree atmosphere, is a challenge.
"I was a member of the international consortium at the University of London, where we had two industrial partners, one of which was Airbus. Thanks to this collaboration, I understand what an airline needs through basic research to find out and transfer it through applications into practice. I bring this topic to Slovakia, to the Institute of Inorganic Chemistry, SAV, which has provided me with top-of-the-range equipment," says Peter Tatarko.
Today, hypersonic flights attract the attention of developers and have become a topic of discussion in the area of materials research. Ultra-fast flying could shorten commercial flights across the globe to just a few hours. However, the surface of a space vehicle is exposed to high atmospheric gas friction when returning from space, causing very high temperatures due to the high speed of the vehicle. Such extreme conditions require specially designed materials.
"Our goal is to produce ultra high temperature ceramics, or ceramic materials for application in high-temperatures. They are based on transition metal diborides and we try to create different composite elements to further improve their high temperature properties. Our goal is to create materials with a new chemical composition. During the experiments, we should create the phases on the surface of materials that prevent further oxidation and ablation, or further degradation of the material," explains Peter Tatarko.
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie program is part of the European Union's Horizon 2020 program and supports the individual mobility of scientists. The condition is that grant applicants spend at least 24 months at a foreign research institution if they want to return home. Peter Tatarko will have 150,000 euros for the basic research of ceramic materials after the grant agreement for the next two years. He is already creating a network of doctoral students and co-workers in his team.
"I have always proudly presented abroad that I am from Slovakia. This country means alot ot me. This system gave me my entire education, from childhood through college to doctorate. My career as a scientist began here, and on foreign stays I have always had the foundations and strong relationships built at home," adds Peter Tatarko.

Monika Hucáková
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Peter Tatarko