How Hypersonic Vehicle Works — How It Works

Hypersonic vs Supersonic

For many years experts believed it was simply impossible to fly faster than the speed of sound. But that all changed in the 1940s, when US test pilot Chuck Yeager flew faster than Mach the speed of sound for the first time in human history. Onlookers below heard the sonic boom as the pressurized air gave way to the Bell X-1 rocket plane, and they realized that supersonic aircraft were dealing with new extremes. But although supersonic aircraft have to overcome many obstacles to break the sound barrier, these factors are compounded when moving at hypersonic speeds. At Mach and above, the air does more than just form shock waves. At such high speeds, the air heats the surface of the aircraft to very high temperatures enough to melt steel and the engines have to cope with huge pressures.

  • At Mach 1: When the aircraft reaches the speed of sound, the air being compressed cannot move away fast enough, so the waves accumulate at the nose of the plane.
  • Above Mach 1: As the plane exceeds the speed of sound, overtakes the waves. This causes change in air pressure, or shock wave, which is heard as sonic.

Building hypersonic vehicle:

Frequently Asked Questions: Hypersonic

Question №1: What is the speed of hypersonic vehicles?

Answer: Hypersonic planes must fly at least five times the speed of sound 6,175 kilometers per hour, or 1,713 meters per second. And their speed isn’t limited to Mach 5; that’s just the beginning.

Question №2: Do we have hypersonic planes?

Answer: Yes, we do have hypersonic planes such as Concorde etc. but we are trying to built hypersonic passenger planes.

Question №3: What engines does hypersonic planes use?

Answer: Hypersonic planes use combustible ramjet, or scramjet. Taking the principles of a jet engine and stripping away all of the unnecessary components for hypersonic travel such as a turbine and a compressor allows air to move through much more quickly. With few moving parts, these simple-looking engines produce enough thrust for an aircraft to soar at incredible speeds; and in doing so, have started to bring the future of air travel to life.

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