The aerospace industry is one of the most significant heavy industries in the world. Technological progress is the basis for competitiveness and advancement in the aerospace industry. One of the main drivers of industrial development and an important link in the world economy. We can best see this today when this industry is in a major crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic. Of course, we do not doubt that the aviation industry will emerge from the crisis even stronger than before, but also with some important lessons.
One of the main pinpoints of development before the pandemic and an issue that occupied the attention of the profession was directed towards lighter structural materials and more economical engines. The uniting goal being to control fuel consumption and carbon emissions connected with air travel and transportation. High fuel prices and global efforts on climate change have brought awareness to the need for higher fuel efficiency.
The development of nanotechnology has provided an answer to the questions and challenges facing the industry.
Use of nanotechnology
Today, nanotechnology finds several uses within the aerospace industry. One of the most prominent is replacing traditional bulk metals such as steel. Now, nanotechnology, more precisely nanomaterials, allows creating almost perfect materials that can enhance performance and passenger safety while saving notable money. These materials exhibit considerably enhanced properties matched to their counterparts with microscale or larger grain structure.
Nanomaterials - a new paradigm in production
Nanomaterials are engineered particles made to have remarkably small dimensions to take advantage of unique physical and chemical properties that exist at the nanoscale. An EU-funded project, named SARISTU (Smart Intelligent Aircraft Structures), aims to take Europe’s aircraft industry to the next level by combining smart new design techniques. The use of new materials has led to significant changes in many performances. Reduction in drag, meaning that less fuel is needed to complete a flight. New aerodynamic designs are also lighter and generate less noise. This will help reduce the impact of overhead aircraft on neighborhoods near airports.
Some of the advantages of nanomaterials are yield strength, tensile strength, corrosion resistance, and a low density to facilitate substantial reductions in structural weight. The opportunities that these materials provide to the aviation industry are great. Different nanomaterials have been applied with success in aircraft production as filler materials increasing the durability of metals. Extraordinary stiffness, toughness, and unique electrical properties distinguish them. Nanocomposites have presented an affordable, high-performance replacement to titanium oxide for the use of aviation fuel tanks.
The benefits that can result from the use of nanomaterials are great. If we only take into account the reduction of the total weight of the aircraft, it entails a significant reduction in fuel consumption, and thus a reduction in costs. This is just one of the reasons that have led to the rapid adoption of nanotechnology in aerospace manufacturing.
We eagerly await to see what the future will bring us. Until then, follow our blog and stay informed about current events in the world of aviation.