Canadian Finishing and Coatings Manufacturing

 

October 14, 2022

 

Boeing Riblet 1On October 14, a Boeing 777-300ER operated by Swiss International Air Lines took off on its first passenger flight to test drive AeroSHARK, a new surface technology that was developed by BASF and Lufthansa Technik. The fuselage and engine nacelles of the aircraft were fitted with about 950-square-meters of what the companies are calling Riblet films, which replicate the flow efficient properties of shark skin to reduce drag.

Flow simulations identified a potential savings of just over one per cent for this type of aircraft. The special surface structure of microscopic ribs—known as Riblets—the AeroSHARK film reduces the frictional resistance of the aircraft’s outer skin by just over one per cent, according to calculations and flow simulations, which also results in reduced fuel consumption and C02 emissions. For this Boeing 777, such a reduction would equate to an annual savings of about 400 tons of kerosene and more than 1,200 tons of carbon dioxide.

Registered as HB-JNH, the AeroSHARK modified aircraft went through several test flights in early September to demonstrate in detail that the modification had no negative impact on the operational safety and handling of the Boeing 777.

Boeing Riblet 2As soon as the calculated savings potential has been validated in actual flight operations, the full-scale roll out for SWISS and Lufthansa Cargo is planned to begin. Other Boeing 777s will receive the modification as a part of regular maintenance. Both airlines plan to have all of their 777-300ERs and 777Fs fitted with the surface technology, which will make them the first passenger and cargo airlines in the world to optimize a complete sub-fleet. Once all cargo and passenger aircrafts are modified, Lufthansa Group will have reduced its carbon footprint by more than 25,000 tons annually.

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