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

PolyOne launches Geon BIO PVC using soy-based materials

April 24, 2015 11:48 am ET

More than a decade of research is paying off for Battelle Memorial Institute in the form of Geon BIO PVC compounds from PolyOne Corp.    More

Image

California may require more recycled content in bottles

April 24, 2015 11:16 am ET

California lawmakers are considering a pair of bills that would bump up the required recycled content in plastic bottles for beverage companies to...    More

Image

KHS cuts packaging with direct printing on PET bottles, adhesive multi-packs

April 23, 2015 1:39 pm ET

KHS GmbH has been pouring a lot of time into solving issues related to direct printing on PET bottles, and after eight years of work, everyone...    More

Image

DuPont center in India gets LEED Certification

April 23, 2015 1:07 pm ET

DuPont Co.'s Knowledge Center in Hyderabad, India, was awarded LEED certification by the U.S. Green Building Council.    More

Image

MeadWestvaco joins the Recycling Partnership

April 23, 2015 11:19 am ET

MeadWestvaco Corp., a global packaging company with some operations in plastics, is joining the Recycling Partnership.    More

Market Reports

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

Injection Molding Market Analysis & Processor Rankings

Plastics News BUNDLED package contains our in-depth Market Analysis of the Injection Molding segment. You will gain keen insight on current trends and our economic outlook.

As a BONUS this includes PN's updated 2014 database of North American Injection Molders RANKED by sales volume. Sort, merge, mail & prospect by end market, materials processed, region, # of plants and more.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

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

September 15, 2015 - September 17, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events