Semiconductor Materials and Device Technologies for Hypersonic Weapon

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The thesis will investigate a potential of semiconductor materials and device technologies for future hypersonic vehicles. Different forces are acting on the missile and affect its performance during its journey. These effects include the pressure, temperature, and frictional drag which result in performance limiting the maximum achievable velocity. Due to the surrounding physical environment, the hypersonic missile may require advanced technology to counter drag and withstand high temperature and pressure reductional ionized surfaces. The drag forces consist of different components including but not limited to, base drag and viscous drag. The Dielectric Barrier Discharge (DBD) was found to reduce drag up to 33% by producing ionic wind. As a result, the ionic wind changes the air viscosity and consequently the different viscous drag. For the hypersonic velocity at Mach 5, the viscous drag is significant. Therefore, the DBD can reduce the drag force depends on several factors such as ionization degree. The substantial amount of heat and ionization can disrupt the electronic devices that are crucial for the missile. Semiconductor technology could offer solutions to such problems. This report considers the vacuum channel integrated circuit solid-state devices as a potential candidate because they are almost immune against radiation and hot environment. This can be potential devices technology alongside a material that withstands such conditions and could open a new path for a hypersonic weapon. This work reviewed several semiconductor materials for such technology development including silicon carbide, gallium nitride, diamond, and lanthanum hexaboride. These wide-bandgap materials offer high-temperature stability and potential ionisation source technology for a hypersonic missile. A small homemade experiment using a commercial air ionizer to observe the drag reduction in a pendulum motion was carried out. The drag was found to be reduced resulting in 7.87% more oscillation where the ionization degree was 8.33.33 x 103 per second by the pendulum ionizer. Based on this proof-of-concept experiment, it can be predicted that on Mach number can be added with suitably scaled surface ionization of about 30% for a hypersonic missile.
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