Lufthansa Tests ‘Shark Skin’ Structures

Lufthansa has announced that two of its A340-300s are taking part in a test that started in mid-2011 alongside Airbus Operations and the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) in Bremen. The project, which will run until summer, will look at the durability of a surface coating for aircraft that mimics shark skin under real-life flying conditions. The riblets that cover the skin of fast-swimming sharks help reduce turbulent vortices and drag, diminishing surface resistance when moving at speed.  Eight 10cm x 10cm test patches will be placed on the fuselage and leading edge of the wings of each aircraft to test whether the new aerodynamic shark skin structures, which can be embossed into aircraft paints, could reduce fuel consumption by about one per cent and lower operating costs.

TAGS: Europe
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