“Shark Skin” Coating for Lufthansa Planes – Nature as a Role Model

Lufthansa covered a Boeing 777 type cargo plane with a special material based on “shark skin”. The innovative product, called AeroSHARK, was jointly developed by Lufthansa Technik and chemical giant BASF.

aeroshark-lufthansa-basf
Source: Sonja Brüggemann, Lufthansa Technik AG

In this way, it is aimed to reduce the amount of friction that occurs on the fuselage of the aircraft during flight and thus to save fuel.

According to the calculations made, it seems possible to achieve a reduction of more than 1% in the amount of friction with AeroSHARK. Thus, Lufthansa’s 10-aircraft Boeing 777F fleet is estimated to provide 3,700 tons of fuel.

This amount is equivalent to the fuel consumption of 48 cargo flights between Frankfurt and Shanghai. In addition to this, as fuel consumption decreases, the carbon emission from the engines will also decrease (11,700 tons less CO2 per year).

During the trials launched towards the end of 2019, Lufthansa Technik and BASF covered the lower part of a Boeing 747-type aircraft with this special material. The area covered was approximately 500 m² in size.

After observations made for 1,500 flight hours, it was decided that the AeroSHARK product could be used efficiently for cargo planes in the fleet.

aeroshark-lufthansa-basf
Source: Sonja Brüggemann, Lufthansa Technik AG

Aircraft surfaces are exposed to high levels of UV radiation, temperature and pressure changes at high altitudes. These coating materials, which will be produced with the German company BASF, are aimed to be resistant to all weather conditions and easy to apply. This development is also an important part of Lufthansa’s goal of achieving carbon-neutral flights by 2050.

From the beginning of 2022, it is aimed to cover all cargo aircraft in the Lufthansa fleet with this product.

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