This is a slow motion film of the Sprint missle. There is a point where to skin goes white hot like a light switch. What is that called?

What metal gets white hot while keeping its shape?


The phenomenon of a hot body emitting visible light is called incandescence.

According to Wikipedia, the skin of the Sprint missile gets up to 6,200 °F (3,430 °C); it has an ablative coating that melts or burns away, carrying thermal energy away from the body of the missile beneath. The Sprint only spends a short time in flight, so the ablative layer doesn't have to be terribly thick.

Alloys like the Inconel family are usually used for heat resistance aerospace applications; they're only good up to 1500-2000°F (815 to 1093 °C), so the ablative layer is a must.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.