A second group of materials includes highly transparent polycarbonate films in the cabin window. These are made of two sheets of Makrofol DE 1-1 polycarbonate film separated by a cushion of air. Other Bayer materials include films for covering structures, wing-covering fabric, and high-performance adhesive and coating materials in the cabin.
"Solar Impulse selected these materials because of their light-weighting capabilities," Rothe wrote. "For example, the polyurethane foam combines design freedom to form the faring and other complex components, as well as high insulation values at a very low density. Polyurethane parts were used where insulation is needed on the plane: cockpit cladding, motor cowling, and wing tips."
The HI-SIB will use the same materials groups: polyurethane foam, polycarbonate, and film and coatings. These will be further optimized, since the second plane needs to be even lighter. The cockpit's insulating foam materials (which also must deliver higher performance) are based on Baytherm Microcell and being co-developed with Solvay. "The material is better due to newly developed formulations, which allow for a significantly lower cell size," Rothe wrote. "These smaller cells make the polyurethane insulation properties even better and the density stays at a very low level. So the total weight should be lower." Another new development is a polyurethane resin for the carbon fiber composite.
For the HI-SIB, Bayer is providing and designing materials and structures. For example, it is handling the design of the cockpit shell. The windshield's sandwich structure will be similar to the HI-SIA's, but Bayer developed a new material that will reduce the likelihood of clouding from water condensation.
The second plane's coatings for all the exterior parts, especially the parts where no solar cells are located, are vital. They are extremely lightweight, allowing optimum protection for the films or textiles underneath. The coatings' "material properties will be the same, but no solvents will be used, which means the material is more ecologically friendly."
Glad you liked it, bobj, and thanks for the Shaw quote--he was an early hero of mine, too. That whole "why not?" spirit is what's been so exciting about Silicon Valley (my home "town) and these days, about alternative energy sources, in my opinion. Figuring out how to go to the Moon is often cited as an expression of the daring and ability of the human spirit. I think this airplane--and a few other feats of what looked like impossible technology--can be seen in the same light.
Excellent post Ann and the video was terrific. One of my favorite people in history is George Bernard Shaw. He said the following: You see things; and you say, 'Why?' But I dream things that never were; and I say, "Why not?" One of the reasons folks like us got into engineering was to ask WHY NOT! I fear all too frequently our so-called leaders stop asking why not. We (seemingly) have become a nation without a national goal. At one time, the exploration of space was our vision. Now we seem to be content allowing the politicians to line their pockets while appeasing their "base". Getting reelected is all they strive for.
Many of the new adhesives we're featuring in this slideshow are for use in automotive and other transportation applications. The rest of these new products are for a wide variety of applications including aviation, aerospace, electrical motors, electronics, industrial, and semiconductors.
A Columbia University team working on molecular-scale nano-robots with moving parts has run into wear-and-tear issues. They've become the first team to observe in detail and quantify this process, and are devising coping strategies by observing how living cells prevent aging.
Many of the new materials on display at MD&M West were developed to be strong, tough replacements for metal parts in different kinds of medical equipment: IV poles, connectors for medical devices, medical device trays, and torque-applying instruments for orthopedic surgery. Others are made for close contact with patients.
New sensor technology integrates sensors, traces, and electronics into a smart fabric for wearables that measures more dimensions -- force, location, size, twist, bend, stretch, and motion -- and displays data in 3D maps.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.