Lightweight solar-powered plane soars

Jane Denny
URETHANES TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

Published: June 2, 2014 9:48 am ET
Updated: June 2, 2014 9:54 am ET

Image By: Solar Impulse 2 The solar-powered plane Solar Impulse 2, built with a variety of lightweight plastic components, took its maiden flight early on June 2.

Related to this story

Topics Sustainability, Aerospace
Companies & Associations Bayer MaterialScience LLC

PAYERNE, SWITZERLAND — A solar-powered plane featuring polyurethane components for light-weighting made its inaugural flight overnight.

The Solar Impulse 2 is set to undertake the world’s first fuel-free circumnavigation of the globe and is a larger, upgraded version of one that flew across America last year.

The sun-powered craft flew from Switzerland’s Payerne airfield at around 3:35 a.m.  on June 2 and returned two hours later.

The craft was invented by Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg utilizing, as previously reported, PU products from Bayer MaterialScience to reduce its weight.

Its cockpit features BMS’s lightweight foam insulation system Baytherm Microcell as well as adhesives and coatings from BMS. The carbon-fiber aircraft has a 72 meter wingspan — wider than a Boeing 747 jet — yet weighs just 2.3 metric tons.

“It’s a great day for all the team of Solar Impulse,” Piccard said following the journey.

“An airplane like this is absolutely unique. And for the first time in history, we have an airplane that is flying with no fuel day and night, showing the incredible potential of the clean technologies.”

BMS contributed a high-performance insulating material, Baytherm Microcell. The German chemical firm said its insulating performance is more than 10 percent greater than alternative grades.

The aircraft will need to withstand temperature fluctuations between minus 40 degrees celsius at night and plus 40 degrees celsius during the day.

Bayer Microcell is also used for the aircraft door and the company supplies polycarbonate/carbon composite material for the locks, plus thin sheets of transparent, high-performance polycarbonate for the window.

Although the cockpit is larger than in the prototype, it is only minimally heavier, added the company.

Inaugural flight pilot Markus Scherdel climbed more than 1,800 meters in the craft. Vibrations were reported at the start, but the maiden flight was deemed a success by the team.


Comments

Lightweight solar-powered plane soars

Jane Denny
URETHANES TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

Published: June 2, 2014 9:48 am ET
Updated: June 2, 2014 9:54 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Röchling buys two UK firms

December 18, 2014 9:24 am ET

Germany's Röchling Engineering Plastics SE & Co. KG has expanded its presence in the high-performance plastics market by acquiring two British firms...    More

Image

Bayer launches PC sheet production in Guangzhou, China

December 17, 2014 6:00 am ET

Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) has started its new polycarbonate sheet production plant at its Guangzhou, China, site.    More

Image

New extruders, repelletizer to improve production for InterGroup

December 17, 2014 6:00 am ET

InterGroup International Ltd. will install new, larger extruders and repelletizers at all three of its plastic scrap recycling locations in 2015.    More

Image

Investments allow UK's Jayplas to keep recycling supply chain at home

December 17, 2014 9:32 am ET

Corby, England-based plastics recycler Jayplas has announced the completion of a new extrusion and printing plant, together with a new packaging...    More

Image

Ecojug trims HDPE from milk jugs

December 17, 2014 8:57 am ET

United Diary Inc. has saved 1.7 million pounds of high density polythylene during the production of 80 million of its new Ecojug milk jug design since...    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

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

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events