Hypergravity can be used to develop better aircraft turbines
For years, engineers have known that titanium aluminide alloys offer great weight benefits over the nickel superalloys used today in conventional jet engines. But casting turbine blades in the required shapes is not simple. After low-gravity experimentation using sounding rockets, researchers realised that just the opposite – very high, or 'hyper', gravity – was the perfect trick to force liquid metal to fill every part of a mould, producing a perfectly cast blade, even with complex shapes. A space-research centrifuge at ESA was used to refine the hypergravity industrial process and now blades can be made 45% lighter, boosting fuel efficiency for air travellers everywhere.