By Ami Cholia
Posting in Technology
U.K. budget airline EasyJet wants to use a an ultra-thin, high-tech coating to cut airline fuel consumption and costs.
In an attempt to reduce its fuel consumption and overall prices, U.K.'s budget airline EasyJet is planning to apply a ultra-thin hi-tech coating on its planes.
The coating -- which is 100 times thinner than the average human hair -- will smooth out any unevenness found on the plane's surface, making it significantly more aerodynamic and reducing drag.
Essentially, the coating will cut debris build-up on the aircraft’s structure.
While EasyJet is doing it from a financial perspective, the aviation industry currently accounts for two percent of global emissions, so any move that cuts fuel consumption is an important step.
Manufacturers of the coating believe that the new technology could cut the airline's fuel consumption by 1 to 2 percent, which experts say could lead to a cost reduction of about 2 percent, or about $32.3 million each year.
EasyJet spent nearly $1.2 billion on fuel last year, which they're expecting to rise to $1.6 billion with increasing prices.
Currently, the airline has begun the pilot project on eight of its aircrafts and will compare their fuel consumption to the rest of its fleet within a year. The technology has been used previously on U.S. military aircrafts, but this will be the first commercial airliner to attempt it.
The way this works is actually fairly simple: The airline coating is applied in two layers: a positively charged wash, with a negatively charged main emulsion. The opposing charges pull the molecules in the two coats magnetically into the pores and keeps them there. This bonds the ultra-thin protective coating into the paint.
If successful, the experiment could lead to huge savings for the airline industry and significant CO2 reductions, and that's something we'd like to see.
[via Daily Mail]
Feb 15, 2011
It's and interesting idea, however slippery surfaces in aircraft may be a double edged sword. Specifically, changing airflow on the wings may reduce lift, requiring more engine thrust. If this is the case, it may not work. In addition, it remains to be seen how well the new materials stands up to ice at altitude, de-icing, aircraft fuselage, wings, etc. swelling and shrinking as the planes climb and/or descend. Ever heard of Laminar airflow? It works great until it stops working. As long the this stuff prevents soot build up, salt build up, ice, etc, we may have something here. Many airlines could save millions of dollars in fuel costs if they 1. put less paint on the plane. 2. Clean the planes. Filthy planes use more fuel. Heavier planes (the paint weighs tons) use more fuel.
If it works, please accelerate production so that all airplanes can take advantage of it they, the smarter airlines, corporate and private plane owners would be a start. For all the warnings are society, a globe society has lead to a time of change. Cleansing the ecology is a start less stress on us all.
I have seen material technology based on shark skin that was shown to be extremely slippery from a hydrodynamic and aerodynamic point of view.