February 15, 2016

Something so hot it's cool to touch

Light up your day with this video demonstration of a space shuttle thermal protection tile! These tiles dissipate heat so quickly, it can be safely picked up immediately after being removed from a 2200°F (1204°C | 1478K ) oven, despite still being red-hot.

The Thermal Protection System covered essentially the entire shuttle surface and consisted of seven different materials in varying locations. Each type of TPS had specific heat protection, impact resistance, and weight characteristics. Ceck out this pdf for a very detailed look at the space shuttle's TPS. http://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/pdf/584728main_Wings-ch4b-pgs182-199.pdf

How can something this hot be cold enough to touch?
Misconceptions About Temperature - Veritasium Youtube
spoiler; When you touch something you are actually feeling the heat flux: how fast that thing is heating you up, not the temperature itself. Because the material used for these tiles conducts heat extremely poorly it won't burn your fingers.

Space Shuttle Thermal Tile Demonstration

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