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2013
06. Safe fragrances
05. DNA mass information store
04. Garden mounds for permaculture
03. Silver as high-tech material
02. Micro needle transmits medications and light
01. Electricity storage in gravity systems

2012
12. An eye on space hazards
11. Water purification through freezing
10. Solar shingles
09. Trinary code
08. Vegetation-based battery materials
07. Indoor position location
06. The interface industry
05. Hypersonic aircraft
04. Re-usable glass packaging
03. Vein patterns as personal ID
02. Magnet making bacteria
01. Ultra-light solids

2011
12. Ultrasound in water
11. Projected touchscreen
10. Electric airplane
08. Glass hard disc
04. Nuclear hazard
03. Clearing “sewer soap”
02. Water harvesting
01. Tea bag size personal water filter

2010
12. Human powered water transport
11. The Technium
08. Bio-remediation of oil spills
07. Cleaner coal
05. Oil spill remediation
04. Solar towers
03. Brain-computer
02. Biodiesel producing bacteria
01. Hydrogen producing bacteria

2009
12. Levitating living organisms
11. A new blue
10. Polymer magnets
09. Electric vehicle batteries
08. Implantable cancer monitors
07. Algal biofuel
06. Geo-Thermal Heat Pump
05. Battery powered roadster
04. Fenestration
03. Text to voice
02. Implantable ID chips
01. Air cleansing building material

2008
12. ebooks
11. Energy Harvesting
10. Private space-flights
09. Virus identification chip
08. Bio-fuels
07. Electronic financial trading
06. Bio-remediation
05. New tech agriculture
04. Manufactured Hotels
03. Magnetic Induction
02. Genetic Vaults
01. Solid-state lighting

2007
12 Bacteria in agriculture and industry
11. Blue revolution
10. Electronic nose
09. Nuclear sarcophagus
08. Shape shifting technology
07. Thought activated technology
06. Green is cool - make me look green
05. Electronic 'drugs'
04. Super-canals and super-ships
03. Environmentally friendly technology: greens versus grays
02. Agriculture: food,fiber and fuel
01. FPGA floating-point performance surpasses microprocessor

2006
08. Energy sources for electricity compete
07. Universal interface (UI)
06. Magnetic levitation
05. Light pipes
04. Storage of electricity
03. Automotive engines
02. Molecular assembly
01. Introducing Technoscan Newsbriefs


Vol. 7, No. 5. May 31, 2012
ISSN 1932-3018

Hypersonic aircraft
Positioning this technology in the
Functionality Grid
  Output
Matter
(M)
Energy
(E)
Information
(I)
A
C
T
I
O
N
Process
Transport
Storage
Reformatted from: Van Wyk, Rias J: Technology - A Unifying Code, 2004, SMG, Cape Town, p.34. Based on: Ropohl, Gunter: Eine Systemtheorie der Technik, 1979, Carl Hanser Verlag, Munich and Vienna, p.178.
This Newsbrief deals with steps towards a hypersonic aircraft. In particular it draws attention to difficulties of achieving the speeds required to maintain the long-term trend in anticipated speeds. In terms of the Atlas of Technology it is concerned with the transport of matter (M).
A rapid increase in the speed of commercial aircraft was a well-established technological trend in the first half of the twentieth century - speeds increased eightfold from just over 100 km/h in the early years to 800 km/h in the 1960s. Technology forecasters anticipated a continuation of this trend.
The mid seventies saw the introduction of the first supersonic commercial aircraft, the Concorde, with an airspeed of about 2000 km/h. But Concorde was withdrawn from service in 2003. Overall, commercial aircraft speeds remained in the subsonic range. To regain the momentum of the early part of the speed trend, aircraft technology would have to achieve hypersonic speeds early in the 21st century. Hypersonic implies an order of magnitude faster than supersonic, i.e., in the region of 10,000 to 20,000 km/h.
Many organizations, notably the military, are experimenting with high-speed craft. The latest news concerns an unmanned Hypersonic Technology Vehicle (HTV-2) capable of achieving 20,000 km/h. Tests highlighted the technological difficulties of achieving hypersonic speeds. News reports state that the craft crashed in the Pacific Ocean during a test flight, after large portions of the outer layer peeled off. (Ferran, L. "Supersecret hypersonic aircraft flew out of its skin" ABC News as reported on Yahoo, April 23, 2012). On the NASA nine point scale of technology readiness levels (TRLs), the HTV- 2 was close to TRL5.
Little evidence has emerged of re-establishing the earlier part of the speed trend for commercial craft. To move capabilities forward, technology explorers should expect an increasing focus on hypersonic support technologies, and a challenge from other quarters such as space craft.

© Rias J. van Wyk, 2013. Editor.