Plastic components featured in new solar-powered plane project

PLASTICS NEWS REPORT

Published: April 10, 2014 1:45 pm ET
Updated: April 10, 2014 1:52 pm ET

Image By: Solar Impulse André Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard unveiled their solar-powered plane, the Solar Impulse, on April 9. The plane uses plastics in multiple parts.

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Sustainability, Aerospace, Materials Suppliers
Companies & Associations Bayer MaterialScience LLC, Solvay SA

Bayer MaterialScience AG and Solvay Group are supplying plastic materials for the new Solar Impulse ultralight plane in preparation for the first fuel-free around-the-world flight.

The Solar Impulse 2 aircraft was unveiled in Payerne, Switzerland, on April 9. The plane is set to undertake the journey in March 2015.

The predecessor Solar Impulse 1 successfully completed its day and night tour across America last summer.

With a 72 meter wingspan, the plane’s weight of 2.34 tons is similar to that of a Jeep, while its horsepower is similar to a motorbike’s.

Solvay Group announced that the plane has about 6,000 parts that contain its materials, which include nylon 6 and 6/6, PEEK and PVDF.

“Thanks to Solar Impulse, Solvay’s advanced chemical solutions and advanced materials have accessed a host of promising new markets, including solar panel protection, computer and mobile phone batteries, baggage compartments on planes and sustainable solutions in mobility,” the company said.

Bayer MaterialScience, which partnered with Swiss pioneers Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg for the project in 2010, was responsible for the design of the insulation system in the cockpit’s shell. The firm’s Baytherm Microcell boasts thermal insulation properties up to 10 percent above current standards, BMS said in a news release.

Baytherm Microcell was also used for the aircraft door, while the rest of the cockpit shell comprises a different type of rigid polyurethane foam.

BMS also supplied a polyurethane/carbon fiber composite material for the door locks and thin sheets of transparent polycarbonate for the window. Although the cockpit is larger than its prototype, it is only minimally heavier.

Outside of the cockpit, rigid polyurethane foam from Bayer MaterialScience insulates the batteries and the company supplied the raw materials for the aircraft’s silvery coating and the adhesives that hold the textile fabric underneath the wings.

Urethanes Technology International contributed to this report.

Image By: Solar Impulse The Solar Impulse uses materials from Solvay and Bayer MaterialScience.


Comments

Plastic components featured in new solar-powered plane project

PLASTICS NEWS REPORT

Published: April 10, 2014 1:45 pm ET
Updated: April 10, 2014 1:52 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Non-recyclable items gumming up the works at recycling centers

August 21, 2014 3:46 pm ET

The influx of all sorts of unacceptable items at recycling centers has gotten to the point that Charlotte, N.C.-based ReCommunity is trying to bring...    More

Image

Investment firm specializes in emerging polymer firms in Ohio

August 21, 2014 3:20 pm ET

A plastics market veteran is working with an investment firm and a research foundation to help commercialize polymer technology in the Buckeye State.    More

Image

Bayer, SCAC partner on water reuse project

August 21, 2014 12:48 pm ET

Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) and Shanghai Chlor-Alkali Chemical Co. Ltd. (SCAC) have entered into a preliminary agreement for the reuse of waste water ...    More

Image

Automakers look under the hood for the next lightweighting opportunities

August 20, 2014 1:06 pm ET

The automotive industry's current favorite target for lightweighting efforts is the powertrain, according to a recent survey.    More

Image

GameDay Challenge expands the competition to the recycling bin

August 20, 2014 10:23 am ET

GameDay Recycling Challenge is returning this year as college football stadiums will compete to see which school produces the least amount of waste &#...    More

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Pipe, Profile & Tubing Extrusion in North America 2014

U.S. demand for extruded plastics is expected to grow by 3 percent in 2014, with PVC remaining the largest segment.

Plastic pipe will post the strongest gains through 2018, continuing to take market share from competing materials in a range of markets.

Our latest market report provides in-depth analysis of current trends and their financial impact on the pipe, profile and tubing extrusion industry in North America.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events