PPG Aerospace uses eggplant-like technology for cooler aeroplanes

11 May 2015

A new solar-heat-management coating system by PPG Industries’ aerospace business helps keep aircraft passenger cabins cooler.

A novel PPG Aerospace solar-heat-management coating system can reduce external aircraft skin temperatures up to 25°F, helping keep interior cabin temperatures cooler by five to seven degrees.

"Airlines often avoid dark colours for airplane liveries because they can absorb as much as 90% of solar energy, which, in turn, heats the interior, while a plane is on the ground,” said Mark Cancilla, PPG global director for aerospace coatings. "Our innovative paint technology means airlines no longer have to avoid dark colours. In fact, the darker the colour, the greater the difference there is in total solar reflectance. There is no compromise of other coating properties.”

PPG solar-heat-management coatings technology is based on the development of novel pigment dispersions or stainers, that increase transmittance of near-infrared energy or heat, through a dark coating and increase the subsequent reflection from a white under layer. Cancilla said the technology is modelled after the eggplant, which naturally remains cool to the touch even when exposed to intense sunshine. The eggplant’s dark purple skin does not absorb near-IR radiation but transmits it to the white interior flesh, where it is reflected and transmitted out through the skin.

PPG’s technology works in the same way. Cancilla said that several airlines and aircraft manufacturers are evaluating PPG’s solar-heat-management coating system.

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