Space

Here’s why Elon Musk’s extremely shiny Starship is made out of stainless steel

Stainless steel won’t just make the SpaceX Starship rocket look cool – it’ll help it stay cool, too.

On Tuesday, Popular Mechanics published an interview with CEO Elon Musk focused on SpaceX’s decision to build its massive new rocket out of stainless steel instead of the previously planned carbon fiber.

Not only is the material cheaper and tougher, according to Musk, but it also gives him the opportunity to do something he believes no one has ever done before: create the world’s first regenerative heat shield, a structure he describes as being like “a stainless-steel sandwich… that bleed[s] water.”

Musk told Popular Mechanics that the idea is to use a technique known as transpiration cooling to cool the outside of the SpaceX Starship, also known as its “windward” side.

This involves building a shell for the rocket using two layers of stainless steel separated by a liquid-cooled gap.

“You flow either fuel or water in between the sandwich layer,” Musk explained, “and then you have micro-perforations on the outside – very tiny perforations – and you essentially bleed water, or you could bleed fuel, through the micro-perforations on the outside.”

According to Musk, this seeping of a liquid onto the rocket’s windward side would allow SpaceX to keep it cool. Meanwhile, the double-walled shell itself adds to the rocket’s “stiffness,” helping it avoid collapse.

“You have a heat shield that serves double duty as structure,” Musk said. “Yeah. To the best of my knowledge this has never been proposed before.”

This article was originally published by Futurism. Read the original article.

Articles You May Like

The effects of climate change might make spiders angry, according to new study
Earth’s mysterious inner core could finally be explained by new science
US is already transforming Greenland, and it’s going to affect the whole world
Earth may have supported life much earlier than we thought, study suggests
New study outlines the nuclear winter we’d have if US and Russia blew up their bombs

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *