Coating reduces aircraft drag

A new surface coating is in development for reducing drag and preventing ice and debris build-up on aircraft surfaces.

Visitors to the Farnborough International Air Show got a first look at the capabilities of an innovative non-stick aircraft coating by PPG. The unique coating, which is still in development, helps to eliminate ice build-up on aeroplanes for increased fuel efficiency, enhanced safety and less required maintenance.

By helping ice, insects and other substances to safely slide off an aeroplane’s wings and flight-control surfaces, PPG’s coating helps to prevent build-up that can create drag on the aircraft. This, in turn, helps to maintain a smooth flow of air over the wings, which studies by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have shown can reduce fuel consumption by as much as 6%.

PPG’s coating also helps to decrease an aircraft’s energy use for ice removal by 75 to 85% compared to a standard finish by reducing the need to use electrical systems and hot air to prevent icing on the wings. Additionally, because the coating helps to minimise bug residue on the aeroplane’s surface, less post-flight aircraft cleaning is needed, which shortens turnaround intervals on the tarmac.

PPG holds four patents related to the coating’s technology and is currently collaborating with key commercial airframe and engine manufacturers to test the coating’s efficiency and durability. The product may be launched commercially as soon as 2017.

“PPG has a long history of developing innovative coatings, and collaborating closely with customers to solve some of their biggest challenges,” said Mark Cancilla, PPG global director, aerospace coatings. “We believe this coatings technology will help customers increase fuel efficiency and manage hazards such as ice build on aircraft components.”

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