The Carinthia-based Treibacher AG, from the Green Tech Valley, is currently undertaking research into a solution for outer space. In collaboration with the University of Nottingham, the company is applying artificial intelligence to make rocket drives for space shuttles even more durable and also reusable. It is intended to achieve this through a special, ultra-thin insulating layer made of ceramic.
Althofen produces high-tech material for outer space
We might well expect to read such headlines in the near future. Treibacher AG is conducting R&D into new ceramic materials. Such ceramic coating materials have been in use in aircraft jet engines for a number of years to improve durability and minimise CO2 emissions. How do the coatings work? Ceramic coatings applied to the hot stage turbine blades act as a thermal insulation layer. The hot combustion stage is therefore more heat-resistant and allows the operating temperature of the turbines to be increased safely, thus increasing the thermodynamic efficiency. This significantly reduces the amount of kerosene fuel used, saving millions of tonnes in greenhouse gas emissions every year. Advanced development of such a high-tech thermal insulation layer could soon also be used in rocket engines. This will make them even more durable and enable extended or multiple missions.
Turbo booster for space shuttles
In a similar manner to aircraft turbine engines, but using a modified chemical composition, ceramic thermal insulation layers have the potential to increase the heat resistance of rocket engines and extend their life-cycle. This is a fundamental building block for human (also commercial) flights into the expanse of our solar system, in the quest to make space travel economically viable.