WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A new hypersonics research center with a focus on developing, “high-temperature materials and creating new manufacturing processes to build and join these materials,” will soon be added to Purdue University.
This new Hypersonics Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center will stand as a single location at Purdue for its industry partners including: GE Additive; Dynetics; Lockheed Martin; Aerojet Rocketdyne; GE Edison Works; Boeing and several small businesses, according to a release from Purdue.
HAMTC will work on materials and manufacturing innovations and provide testing access at Purdue, that will enable the U.S. to “overtake near peer adversaries in the field,” the release states.
For background information, air resistance at hypersonic speeds – more than five times the speed of sound – creates very hot temperatures. This causes surface level reactions that break down materials.
“When you heat up 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, small differences in expansion can cause large stresses between components made of different materials that may result in failure of hypersonic vehicles,” Michael Sangid, executive director of HAMTC and the Elmer F. Bruhn Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, said in the release.
“At HAMTC, we can essentially increase the temperature capabilities of materials via new compositions, create new manufacturing routes to produce complex geometrical designs, and join these dissimilar materials together, in order to meet the requirements of hypersonic environments,” Sangid said.
HAMTC is a planned 65,000-square-foot Hypersonics and Applied Research Facility (HARF), according to the release. Building the facility broke ground in late 2021.
In addition to HAMTC, the $41 million HARF facility will house the only Mach 8 quiet wind tunnel in the world, along with a hypersonic pulse reflected shock/expansion tunnel.
“The potential and opportunity for additive manufacturing in hypersonics is huge,” Chris Schuppe, general manager (of) engineering and technology (at) GE Additive, said. “We are honored to be part of Purdue’s team supporting the Department of Defense in manufacturing research that will advance U.S. national security and competitiveness; we value results-driven, industry-academic collaboration in industrializing additive. Our team – many of whom are Purdue alums – are excited to get started.”
Sangid followed up by explaining the new experiences that will come from the HAMTC.
“What is unique about this is our ability to work hand-in-hand with industry,” Sangid said. “We’ll have researchers and students work on real industrial and defense problems, while at the same time advances and transitioning innovations in high temperature materials and cutting-edge additive manufacturing.”
According to the release, the contract for the new center began in December 2021, giving Purdue a head-start on furthering the world’s capabilities in hypersonic evaluation and testing.
“HAMTC will extend Purdue’s core competencies in hypersonics and enable us to work hand-in-hand with important partners, such as GE Additive, to address critical challenges facing this field by developing new materials and equipment,” Theresa Mayer, Purdue’s executive vice president for research and partnerships, and the Purdue Applied Research Institute (PARI’s) vice chair and lead manager, said.
There is currently no set date for the completion of building the HAMTC facility.