Manufacturers of aircraft are always looking for ways to lighten their products. There are valid reasons for this battle over every gram, including the fact that light aircraft use less fuel, carry more people, and have smaller carbon footprints. As a result, engine manufacturers continuously improve their designs. Fuselage sections are increasingly constructed of pricey, carbon-fiber reinforced polymers, and solid metals are being substituted with fiber-reinforced composites for interior design.
Then the painters appear and paint the Airbus A380 with almost a ton of paint. Is that actually required? Absolutely, says Maike Timm, production manager at Lufthansa Technik for aircraft painting services. In regular flight service, the surfaces are exposed to great strains: ice crystals, dust particles, ash, and grains of sand pelt into the materials at speeds of 1,000 kilometers per hour. Whether they are constructed of metal or plastic, without the protective layer of paint, the aircraft parts would get ᴅᴀᴍᴀɢᴇD extremely rapidly.
UV rays and temperature variations between -55 and +100 degrees Celsius are added to this. De-icing chemicals, kerosene, and lubricant oil residues cause metals to corrode quickly and ᴅᴇsᴛʀᴏʏ the material compositions of fiber-reinforced plastics unless the surfaces are sealed. The initial passenger planes didn’t have paint on them because it was more economical—the continent of Europe was at war. However, the aluminum alloys quickly became tarnished and required constant repolishing. Even the Junkers Ju 52 no longer flies without a protective paint coat, despite the fact that it is not immediately obvious. A layer of metallic paint has been applied to the outside.
Protection coat by coat
Nothing in aircraft functions without paint. However, the paint you can buy at your neighborhood home improvement store is insufficient for painting an aircraft since it must be incredibly thin, resistant to scratches, filth, and pollution, as well as being ecologically friendly. Timm summarizes the situation as follows: “Thanks to new developments, we can now work very efficiently. Although applying nearly a ton of paint to the Airbus A380 may seem excessive, it covers a surface area of around 4,000 square meters. The four to five coats of paint that must be applied have to have a combined thickness of only a fraction of a millimeter.”
These multi-layered systems hold decades of knowledge. In the simplest scenario, just two components are needed: painters must first coat the cleaned and sanded surfaces with an anti-corrosion primer before applying the actual paint. There are also one-coat and two-coat systems available as well. “The clear coat improves gʟᴏss and paint retention while providing UV radiation protection. In addition, because the surfaces are so smooth, the aircraft requires less frequent washing and is less prone to accumulating dirt. Additionally, the two-coat paintwork has lifetimes that are six to eight years rather than the typical five years for most other paint systems.”
Additional intermediary layers enable the integration of extra features like selective paint removability. This activity is made possible by applying a thin separating layer over the anti-corrosion primer. After a few flights, if the aircraft needs a new paint job Years, the separating layer and old paint can be chemically scʀᴀᴘᴇd away, leaving the anti-corrosion coating underneath intact. “In By doing so, the time needed to remove old paint and apply new paint can be reduced by 10%, “accentuates Böttcher.
Let’s see the Modern Technology-How Airplanes Are Painted?-Timelapse Painting of an Airplane-Inside Airplane Tech in the ᴀᴡᴇSOme video below.
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