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Chemistry professor assists in development of new materials for hypersonic vehicles

News Release — 17 September 2009


Media contact: Sue Stevens, Senior Media Relations Officer, 817-272-3317,

ARLINGTON - A University of Texas at Arlington chemist is helping unlock the secret of developing higher temperature materials that can be used to design a hypersonic aircraft.

"Imagine a trip from the East to West Coast in less than an hour or from the United States to China in less than four hours. This could be possible with an airplane flying at hypersonic speed, Mach 5, which is faster than 3,400 miles per hour," said Peter Kroll, assistant professor of chemistry.

Kroll has been awarded a five-year grant worth up to $500,000 to investigate ultra-high performance ceramic composite materials. The Award is funded by NASA and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research through the recently established National Hypersonic Science Center for Materials and Structures led by Teledyne Scientific & Imaging.

Within this center, UT Arlington is collaborating with researchers from the University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Colorado in Boulder, University of Miami in Florida, Missouri University of Science and Technology at Rolla and University of California at Berkeley. The team will be discovering new ultra-high performance ceramic composite materials that can sustain the extreme heating conditions in hypersonic flight and developing new capabilities to model the behavior of these materials.

Kroll will study materials using multi-scale simulation techniques, ranging from quantum chemical calculations to large-scale multi- million atom simulations and continuum methods.


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