Satish Kumar

Professor Satish Kumar Awarded $1.5 Million to Design New Thermal Protection System for Hypersonic Vehicles

April 17, 2024
By Chloe Arrington

Satish Kumar, professor in the George W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, has been awarded $1.5 million in funding through the University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics (UCAH) for a new research project that will design a multi-functional thermal protection system for hypersonic vehicles.

The new protection system will act as an insulator over a cold frame that carries structural, aerodynamic, and thermal loads, and operate at temperatures over 1,200 degrees Celsius.

According to Kumar, the project moves beyond the current thermal and structural functions of thermal protection systems with the addition of a radome structure to allow for the sensing of electromagnetic responses in the desired frequency spectrum.

“A metamaterial structure within a ceramic radome will be designed to elicit highly tailored electromagnetic responses,” said Kumar.

The project will be a collaboration between researchers from the Woodruff School, Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute (GTMI), the Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL).

Along with designing the thermal protection system, the project will develop a scalable fabrication process with the assistance of multi-physics modeling and optimization framework.

Kumar is currently researching high temperature materials for hypersonics with $8.3 million in funding provided by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This project is led by GTRI.

In the last three years, the UCAH has funded multiple Georgia Tech research projects in the areas of materials and structures for thermal protection systems and guidance, and navigation and control. Georgia Tech has emerged as leading institutes in these areas with the support of UCAH, DARPA, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR).

About the University Consortium for Applied Hypersonics

The UCAH is an inclusive, collaborative network of universities working with government, industry, national laboratories, federally funded research centers, and existing university affiliated research centers. It aims to deliver the innovation and workforce needed to advance modern hypersonic flight systems in support of national defense.