Let's say that I was going to shoot a can of beer into space from one of those "vacuum cannons." I would expect that the friction with the air around the projectile would cause the whole thing to just melt and burn (explode).

Is there such a substance that, if used to coat the projectile of my contraption, would eliminate the heat problem by basically "consuming the heat in a reaction" on the way out of the atmosphere?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Daresay if you had such a coating you'd be a multi-quadrijillionaire. $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py May 15 '16 at 0:05
  • $\begingroup$ Large bodies such as meteors burn while plunging through the atmosphere because of adiabatic compression of the air in front of them, rather than friction. I'm not sure whether the same remains true for an object as small as a beer can. I suspect the beer can would actually remain quite cool, as the square-cube law suggests heat would be transferred proportionally much more efficiently away from the beer can. $\endgroup$ – Nicolau Saker Neto May 15 '16 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ @NicolauSakerNeto Uh. Jinx...ish? $\endgroup$ – hBy2Py May 15 '16 at 0:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Brian Pretty darn close, though I had to edit some more stuff in! $\endgroup$ – Nicolau Saker Neto May 15 '16 at 0:11
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    $\begingroup$ I guess you're talking about ablative coating, like used for atmospheric reentries - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_entry#Ablative $\endgroup$ – Mithoron May 15 '16 at 0:20

Try using carbon fiber in a uniquely woven shape. Maybe apply a dual layer with the top layer having a unique shape for heat dissipation. There have been a few carbon fiber helix designs that maintained structure and supported weight with a 2000 F acetylene/butane flame directed on it.

Another option is go with layers of powdered graphite. See if you can convert thermochemical properties with blends. Maybe you can add a coolant system for your beer can with the excess energy stored.

If you are really trying to have your beer survive extreme heat,"Thermo-electric Reactions and Currents Between Metals in Fused Salts" by Thomas Andrews is probably a good start for prototype blends. I think google has a free .pdf available through Google books.

Here is a graph that might help with selecting your surface metals, if you ever take this project on seriously:

enter image description here

If nothing works, at least your efforts should land you a pretty hardcore beer-koozie.

Final deciding factors come down to the degree of effort you are wishing to exert and material expense.

  • $\begingroup$ Do you want to break up this post into a few more readable paragraphs? Also, you can insert photos using the image button above the text. $\endgroup$ – ringo May 15 '16 at 7:20

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