China builds hypersonic jet engine 16 times faster than sound speed

A hypersonic engine that could travel 16 times faster than sound has been successfully tested in a wind tunnel in China.

The prototype is called the Soramjet engine and, if it is ever installed in commercial aircraft, it could allow it to travel to any part of the world in less than two hours.

Researchers in Beijing who led the project say the engine could be used to power planes taking off from a regular runway, fly into orbit and land at an airport after re-entering the planet’s atmosphere. .

The tests at the JF-12 Chess Tunnel in Beijing were performed up to nine times the speed of sound (the speed of sound is 1234 kilometers per hour).

The experiment was a success and the engine was running smoothly, reports the South China Morning Post. Researchers unveiled revolutionary technology in a scientific paper published by Jiang Zonglin, a professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The success was made possible by adopting a different approach to the other known form of hypersonic reaction engines, known as “scramjets”. These are different from traditional turbojet engines seen on current aircraft and have no moving parts.

Instead, they use their fast speed to compress the air and it, in turn, burns the fuel, creating propulsion. However, these engines, which are still in the testing phase and do not yet have real-world applications, have a major defect that prevents them from exceeding the ™ seven times the speed of sound.

The dependence of compressing the air in front of the engine and its use means that the inevitable shock waves – sound arms – would extinguish the flames, forcing the engine to stop. . Soramjets is based on a theory originally put forward by an engineer named Richard Morrison in 1980, who said that shock waves could be used to ignite fuel.

According to the report, the new engine consists of a single-stage air inlet that directs it to a combustion chamber, where it ignites the hydrogen fuel on board.

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