High-flying materials for aeronautics (Infography)

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A totally transparent approach to safety

The key component: flight deck windows in Solidion® glass. This patented glass is 12 times stronger than regular glass! 

The context: at altitude, the outside air temperature can fall to -50°C at cruising speeds of between 500 and 560 mph. In other words, flight deck glazing must be exceptionally strong, robust and transparent.

The secret: With a thickness range of 25 to 30 mm, Solidion® flight deck glazing offers high resistance to cabin pressure and potential impacts (hail, bird risk*, etc.). How? The technology that facilitates ion exchange at the glass surface means that this glass maintains a good level of visibility even after breakage.

*Bird strike

Bringing WiFi onboard

The key component: radomes

The context: Providing Internet connectivity onboard an aircraft demands a high level of technological expertise and excellent satellite connection. It also requires communication systems that are flawlessly operational! And that’s where radomes come in. Developed by Saint-Gobain Quartz, these domes formed from composite materials (glass, epoxy resin and quartz) provide hermetically sealed protection for satellite communication and weather radar systems.

The secret: The Quartzel® fiber used in radome manufacture guarantees excellent signal quality, because this specialist material delivers a higher level of permeability to electromagnetic waves. Its inherent shock and impact resistance are also important benefits.

Resisting the highest temperatures 

The key component: ceramics

The context: engine temperatures can reach 950°C at takeoff, so metal components must be able to withstand extremely high temperatures. 

The secret: Lighter and more resistant to high temperatures than metals, ceramic components are gradually becoming more commonly used in the aviation industry. Saint-Gobain Ceramic Materials also manufactures the ceramic powder coatings that create a thermal barrier that protects the very hottest parts of the engine.

Taking sealing to a new level

The key component: OmniSeal® seals and sealing foams

The context: It is essential that aircraft are completely sealed against air, water, dust and liquid ingress; key areas include the fuel tanks, flight deck and passenger windows.

The secret: OmniSeal® fluoropolymer seals are designed to withstand exceptional environments that go beyond the point where elastomer solutions can no longer cope. Saint-Gobain also supplies silicone tubes to carry special fluids, as well as polyimide seals that deliver good mechanical properties at high temperatures. 

Any shape you can imagine

The key component: high-performance polymers

The context: in the quest for higher energy efficiency, the aviation industry is always looking for new materials that combine lightness with flexibility and a high level of heat resistance. 

The secret: With their low density to weight ratio, robust properties and high strength, polymers are the solution of choice for many applications.

 Cable ducts, the plastic structures of passenger seats, panels... All these components are solutions developed by Saint-Gobain for the aviation industry. High-performance and ultra-strong, these polymers can be used to create the many and complex shapes needed to fit perfectly into the contours of individual aircraft. They are sometimes reinforced with glass fibers (Vetrotex glass yarns) for higher impact resistance and fire resistance. 

Lastly, 3D technology enables multiple materials to be combined to optimize component design and develop highly complex shapes.

Making aircraft lighter

The key component: abrasives

The context: You may not realize it, but reducing the weight of an aircraft has a significant impact on its kerosene consumption. So the lighter the aircraft, the less fuel it consumes!

The secret: Used for polishing the cabin and wings, Saint-Gobain's coated abrasives can shave 120 kg off the weight of an aircraft. Now more fuel-efficient, it is also more environmentally friendly. And less fuel consumed also means less CO2 emitted.....