Hypersonic Flight with Boron Nitrogen Nanotubes

  1. Sustainability Problem: Energy & aircraft travel times
  2. Technology Solution: Extremely high travel speeds generate high heat. A study done by NASA and Binghamton University investigated using nanotubes made from boron nitride (BNNTs) to allow for hypersonic travel at speeds above 4,000 miles per hour. Currently, carbon nanotubes can withstand temperatures of 400 degrees Celcius but BNNTs can withstand 900 degrees Celcius.
  3. Stakeholders:
    • NASA
    • Elon Musk and hyperloop
    • Investors
    • Private aerospace or automotive companies in competition
    • Governments and smart cities attempting to create more efficient technology solutions
    • NGOs
    • Local communities in need of resources such as food or after disasters
  4. Deployment:
    1. Investors must be engaged to further R&D efforts. BNNTs cost about $1,000 per gram and are too expensive for production. However prices may decrease, and production may increase, after more studies detail the material’s usefulness and durability. Carbon nanotubes were around the same price 20 years ago but are now between $10-20 per gram.
    2. Create pilot projects for military fighter jets and high-speed trains. Use these pilot projects to demonstrate the productivity of this technology in addressing weather disaster areas that need relief and developing countries in need of physical access to food.
    3. If successful, expand to commercial flights.
  5. Comment on “Smog Free Tower” post:
    • This has been a great addition to some of the CO2 inhaling technologies out there. As the article mentions, developing countries, such as places in China and Malaysia with many manufacturing plants, have very unhealthy air. Not only does this attempt to combat particle emissions contributing to climate change, it also targets health & safety of the global population since our bodies were not made to withstand so much air pollution. Perhaps air filters could be implemented in other infrastructure at lower costs? Apparently now this compressed polluted air is also being turned into jewelry.
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