Monday, 14 February 2011

The science of travel

In plane view - View out of the window on the way to Iceland

The cost of flying is constantly on the 'up' and the cost of fuel is the biggest factor.

Airlines have tried everything to reduce the costs; from thinner carpets to lighter drinks trolleys and yet we still end up paying more for our flights.

In a bid to lower fuel consumption and reduce carbon emissions, Easyjet will be trialling a revolutionary technology on some of their planes. It's called 'nano-technology coating' aka a new paint job.

The idea is, that this coating is smoother than normal paint used on aircraft so it will cause less 'drag' while the plane is flying through the air. The shiny surface helps to prevent build up of debris on the outside of the plane making it more streamlined. It is also a lot lighter - it only adds 4oz to the overall weight of the plane compared to 80kg for standard paint.

The technology has been developed by a UK based firm and has been used on US military aircraft for years but this will be the first commercial airline to test it on passenger jets.

Here's the science bit:

Before applying the coating, the plane is given a polarising wash to open the pores of the surface to be treated and electrically charges it with positive polarity (sounds like the kind of facial I need right now!) which allows the new coating to bond with the existing paint.

Can it really save money?

In 2010 Easyjet spent £730m on fuel. It's estimated that by applying this coating to all of their fleet of 200 planes, they could save 2% on their fuel bill - that's £14m!!! And Easyjet have promised to pass that saving onto their customers!

Aren't these scientists clever?

1 comment:

  1. They are very, let's wait and see if they do save and then pass it on to the customers.

    Thanks for the lesson..I really do love to have these bits of info.