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Ultrastrong PE fiber saves aircraft weight

By: Michael Lauzon

September 25, 2013

Every pound saved in an aircraft translates to fuel savings and lower carbon emissions. Air France-KLM has begun to use advanced polymer cargo nets that can save 210 gallons of kerosene fuel a year in an aircraft.

The nets are made of Dyneema ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber supplied by Dutch plastics and chemicals major Royal DSM. Dyneema’s PE molecules are oriented in the machine direction to provide tensile strength 15 times stronger than steel.

The nets made from Dyneema are manufactured by British firm AmSafe Bridport, a specialist in restraint technologies. The new cargo nets weigh about 20 pounds, about half the weight of a traditional cargo net made from PET fibers.

Royal DSM said Dyneema also aids applications in marine, medical, sport, safety and other markets. The fibers are water and chemical resistant and lighter than water. Royal DSM began commercial production of Dyneema in 1990. It now makes the fibers in Heerlen, Netherlands; Greenville, N.C.; and Katata, Japan.

Tel. for Europe 31-46-476-7999, for North America 800-88307404 or 704-862-5000.