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Russia has created new materials for thermal protection of spacecraft

25 декабря 2023

Russia has created new materials for thermal protection of spacecraft

Researchers from Russia have developed new materials based on hafnium, zirconium, carbon and nitrogen, which can already be used as a basis for thermal protection of spacecraft, and in the future they may become one of the components of matrix nuclear fuel. This was reported by the press service of NUST MISIS.


"New hafnium-zirconium carbonitrides developed by SIC researchers"NUST MISIS structural ceramic materials can be in demand in the most high—tech and knowledge—intensive sectors of the economy - for example, in nuclear energy, space industry," said Alevtina Chernikova, Rector of MISIS University (Moscow), whose words are quoted by the university's press service.


The materials were developed by a group of chemists and materials scientists under the leadership of Dmitry Moskovskikh, Director of the Research Center "Structural Ceramic Materials" at NUST MISIS (Moscow). They represent a more efficient and oxidation-resistant alternative to zirconium and hafnium carbides widely used in industry.
As scientists explain, these compounds differ in melting point, about 3.5 thousand degrees Celsius, as well as high thermal conductivity, toughness and strength. However, they have a relatively low oxidative resistance at high temperatures, which reduces their practical applicability in chemically aggressive environments. Russian researchers have found out that this deficiency of zirconium and hafnium carbides can be eliminated if nitrogen is added to the material.


"There is an opinion that if nitrogen is added, for example, to carbide, then its oxidative resistance will necessarily deteriorate due to the formation of a large number of gaseous reaction products. However, in our work we refute it and show that nitrogen doping can significantly increase oxidative resistance," explained Veronika Suvorova, a researcher at NUST MISIS (Moscow), whose words are quoted by the university's press service.


According to her, the oxidative resistance of materials increased significantly at temperatures above 1,200 degrees Celsius, which was due to the formation of dense oxide layers that prevented oxygen from penetrating deep into zirconium and hafnium carbonitride. This allows it to be used for thermal protection of spacecraft, and after completing tests for radiation resistance, this material will become an alternative for silicon carbide in the production of nuclear fuel, the scientists concluded.


Source: RG.RU