Science in Space

So far, the project has tested two new types of material. Both are ‘intermetallics’ – compounds of metals with an ordered structure. This structure gives the materials unique properties making them suitable for these high-performance applications.

Titanium aluminide is incredibly strong, even at searing temperatures. It is ideal for making jet-engine parts which have to withstand great heat and huge forces. Even better, having half the density of the usual material means the engines will be lighter, need less fuel and so produce less pollution.

 

Nickel aluminide is revolutionising the way hydrogen fuel cells work, making them cheaper and more efficient. Hydrogen power could one day provide clean, non-polluting energy to power our cars, scooters and even laptops and mobile phones.

 

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