Airplanes and ships, as they head out from airstrips and harbors respectively, guzzle emission, which is a direct consequence of their inefficient flow resistance or drag. It does not only increase their cruising costs, but also skyrockets the fuel consumption. However, researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have found scales of fast-swimming sharks as truly inspiring while they develop an innovative, nanomaterial-based paint that could reduce drag and resist UV radiations, high speeds and unpredictable temperatures ranging from -55 to 70 degrees C.
The 2010 Joseph von Fraunhofer Prize-winning team, working on the development, includes Yvonne Wilke, Dr. Volkmar Stenzel and Manfred Peschka of the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research IFAM in Bremen. Narrating sturdy texture of newly developed paint, Dr. Volkmar Stenzel says…
Paint offers more advantages. It is applied as the outermost coating on the plane, so that no other layer of material is required. It adds no additional weight, and even when the airplane is stripped – about every five years, the paint has to be completely removed and reapplied – no additional costs are incurred. In addition, it can be applied to complex three-dimensional surfaces without a problem.
Next, the team hopes to put the paint to practical use through a stencil so that it retains the sharkskin-like quality. The findings of a test conducted at a ship construction site reveal that the paint reduced wall friction by more than five percent, i.e. 2,000 tons of annual fuel savings for a large container ship. Another assumption suggests fuel savings worth 4.48 million tons if the paint is applied to all airplanes throughout the world.
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia [Under a Creative Commons License]