The hypersonics facility at UNSW Canberra has celebrated a milestone within defence research and discovery with the launch of a prototype combustor that enables hypersonic flight.
The new technology was developed as part of the $9.7 million Cooperative Research Centre Project (CRC-P) for Hydrocarbon Fuel Technology for Hypersonic Airbreathing Vehicles which is funded by the Australian government and has been led by defence and military technology company DefendTex.
The project is housed in UNSW Canberra’s free-piston shock tunnel facility, which has also been upgraded for hypersonic ignition testing.
UNSW Canberra Rector Professor Michael Frater said the university is quickly forging a reputation for excellence in the research area of hypersonics and defence capabilities.
"This new technology developed as part of the CRC-P means our facility now has capability to investigate the ignition of hydrocarbon fuels at supersonic speeds," Professor Frater said.
"The combination of the shock tunnel, invented here in Australia by Professor Ray Stalker, and new ignition technologies developed by UNSW Canberra Associate Professor Sean O’Byrne and his colleagues, enable supersonic ignition at higher speeds than those available in the current generation of jet engines.
"This technology will no doubt assist with Australia’s future defence capabilities."
The project is a result of collaboration between partners including DefendTex, RMIT University and the Universität der Bundeswehr in Germany.
"We are proud to be part of this project which is an example of true collaboration led by DefendTex Pty Ltd, and sees us help continue Australia’s proud history of achievement in hypersonic flight," said Professor Frater.
"Partnerships like this are a natural fit for UNSW Canberra, particularly with the recent launch of our Defence Research Institute. Our mission for this institute is to deliver groundbreaking research that will enhance Australia’s security, and this project will certainly play an important role in that."