Flying further on less fuel with plastics!

Did you know that plastics are being used to replace more and more aircraft parts? The wing boxes of the Airbus A380 use plastic fibre composites, which reduces the aircraft by 1.5 tons. The aircraft can fly further and carry more cargo using the same amount of fuel, talk about energy-efficiency!

Aviation and aerospace engineering are inconceivable without plastics

A mere glance at the interior of an aircraft will confirm this statement. Be it doors, windows, seats, interior trim or equipment, when designing an aircraft, every gram counts in order to minimize weight to maximise speed. But heavy-duty plastics are indispensable for the compliance with the stringent safety requirements of sensitive parts such as rudders and stabilisers, wing housings, flaps, spoilers and last but not least, tyres.

Airbus A380 – a world record made from plastics

The Airbus A380-800 can transport up to 853 passengers – 555 in the standard version – which makes it the largest passenger aircraft in the world. Fibre composites account for about 25% of the material that went into making this plane. Thanks to this technological innovation, a fully occupied A380 can cover a range of 14,800 km and uses only 3.3 litres of kerosene per passenger on 100 km. With these features, the A380 clearly outperforms the Boeing 747-800, which accommodates 390 passengers, and not only in terms of size. The Boeing 747 has a range of 12,200 km and a kerosene consumption of 4.3 litres per passenger on 100 km.

Lighter, quieter and better for the environment – the aircraft of the future…

But the A380 does not mark the end of the scale. In the future, composites are expected to account for 40% of the material that is used to build wide-bodied aircraft. Equipped with plastic fuselage and wings, these aircraft will provide superior strength and aerodynamics.

Thanks to the weight reduction of these planes of the future, the carbon dioxide and nitrogen emissions are expected to be respectively reduced by 50% and 80%.

Plast Eurasia 4-7 December 2024
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