Advances in Paint Chemistry: Amazing Solutions for Increased Aerodynamics Reply

It seems so obvious in hindsight: reducing the drag on an airplane, boat, or car would increase fuel efficiency and provide cost savings for the operator of the vehicle. Until now, that solution was best managed by trying to implement a smooth top coat as any imperfections, dents, or layering in the paint would increase drag. Even a microscopic imperfection would, over time, result in hundreds or even thousands of dollars in wasted fuel cost and increments of wasted time as a transport vehicle inefficiently arrived at its point of destination.

A Cessna on the runway

Aerodynamic efficiency means big gains for jet airplanes.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The team at easyJet realized this and sought a better solution. Using a new breakthrough in paint chemistry, the easyJet team was able to apply a top coat one hundred times thinner than a human hair to smooth out any hills or valleys on their jet plane’s bodies in an effort to improve fuel efficiency and travel time. The dramatic results include a two percent reduction in fuel costs, which, over time, add up to thousands of dollars in reduced operational costs for in-service jets flying on a regular schedule. The airline expects to save upwards of thirty million dollars a year in reduced fuel consumption costs, a number that can easily be the difference between a bad year and a wildly profitable annual report.

The breakthrough in paint technology is a simple matter of physics. The new paint utilized is polymer-based and fills in even the most microscopic cracks and crevices to create a near-perfectly smooth surface at all points of the fuselage. Since those same cracks and crevices would create unnecessary drag on the airplane, minimizing them has immediate operational and financial benefits to the airline. Furthermore, reduced fuel costs mean reduced C02 emissions, which is a benefit to the environment.

An additional benefit of this new type of nano-technology coating is that debris, dirt, and residue is less likely to adhere to the surface. In essence, this means the paint surface not only remains free of unnecessary drag, but also cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

The finished and cured coating is an astounding one-micron thick, less than one-one-hundreth of the thickness of a human hair. Despite this thin layer of paint, the application not only covers the substrate, but also offers full protection against wind, rain, and sunlight. Because of the ultra-slick surface and impermeable coat, moisture does not penetrate and degrade the coating as it would with lesser paint compositions.

The secret to this paint’s success is actually based in chemistry in the form of electrons and neutrons. The substrate is cleaned in a way that purges any divots, dimples, or cracks of dirt and creates a negative charge. The second step in coating is the application of the paint, which carries with it a positive charge. Simple chemistry dictates that opposites attract, meaning the new top-coat adheres firmly to the substrate without any future concern of chipping or flaking. Add in that the paint itself includes a durable acrylic compound and an entire airplane surface can be coated with a single coat without any concern of the paint degrading or not offering long-term protection.

The widespread implications of this type of paint chemistry are difficult to overstate. Increased aerodynamics mean reduced fuel costs and more efficient travel times. Smoother top coats mean surfaces that are easier to clean and maintain. Filled in cracks and crevices keep structures free of damage and degradation over the years. And, significant to professional painters, more efficient paint means less expense in providing a full coating and less time in finishing the job.

Advances in aerodynamic paint chemistry such as the paint utilized by easyJet effect not just how professional painters work now, but also what the profession will look like in the future. Better paint products lead to happier customers and more efficient (and cost effective) paint jobs. Embracing these breakthroughs is key to finding extra profit margins and delivering exceptional work to clients in all sectors. Click here to learn more about the fascinating developments taking place in the world of paint chemistry!

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