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Graphene composites enable the aviation industry to gain altitude

​By: Graphene Flagship

European Commission funded research project, the Graphene Flagship will showcase the graphene-enhanced plane leading edge at JEC World 2020. Boasting light-weight characteristics and supreme thermal properties, this development will save airlines huge sums of fuel costs over the plane’s lifespan. Visit the booth at Hall 5, Booth A74, in Paris, France on March 3-5, to see this product first-hand among other industry-leading graphene products.

The leading edge is the first part of a plane that makes contact with the air. Graphene is used for the Airbus A350 horizontal tail leading edge, manufactured by Graphene Flagship partners Airbus, Aernnova and Grupo Antolin-Ingenieria. In collaboration, these industry leaders added graphene to resin matrices in the aerospace sector and used the improved material to form the horizontal tail plane.

The results from testing shows graphene increases the mechanical properties of the leading edge, enabling to plane part to be thinner and lighter, all while fully functional. This weight reduction and improved aerodynamics will enable huge fuel-savings across the lifespan of the aeroplane, which many JEC visitors could benefit from.

Another aerospace-focused demonstrator at JEC World will be graphene-based heaters. The thermal and electrical properties of graphene allow efficient, flexible and fast heating of modules – an effective option for applications in space, aeronautic, automotive, energy and food. Graphene Flagship partner Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR) has developed two different families of heaters: flexible graphene heaters and graphene heaters integrated in carbon fiber reinforced polymer, taking advantage of graphene's conductivity.

Other demonstrations at the event include graphene reinforced rubber compound for bike tires, electrically conductive graphene concrete and the world's first graphene running and hiking sports shoe – the inov-8 G-Grip.

"JEC World 2020 is a good opportunity to meet Graphene Flagship associate members leading the way with graphene applications," said Vincenzo Palermo, Vice-Director of the Graphene Flagship. "During the past seven years, we have managed to bring together academic and industrial researchers to take graphene from the realm of academic laboratories, and into European society. We have several impressive demonstrations applied across many industries that will be at the show."

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Publishing date: 26 February 2020 11:52