Novel way to protect aircraft

In a new work, multi-layer polyurethane silica gradient coatings were prepared using doping treatment with silica particles of different sizes and concentrations to hinder the transmission of heat and improve the impact resistance.

A white painted aircraft in a hangar.
The utilisation rate of composite materials has exceeded 50 % in some advanced aircraft. During the flight Image source: aapsky - (symbol image).

Composites used in aircraft are vulnerable to mechanical and thermal damage during particle impact at high speeds. In a new paper, a series of gradient polyurethane silica coatings with different silica particle sizes and concentration gradients were prepared on epoxy resin matrix composites by pneumatic spraying process. The results of corundum impact and thermal insulation performance experiments indicated that multi-layer gradient coatings improved the particle impact resistance and thermal insulation. The damage was reduced to <1 % of surface damage area and thickness loss under the protection of enhanced gradient coatings, showing excellent particle impact resistance.

Wide application prospects

The coatings remained intact under high-speed particle collision, which verified the protection performance of the coatings simulating the situation that the coatings were impacted by particles and heated simultaneously. The as-prepared gradient coatings can effectively enhance the anti-impact and thermal insulation performance of composites, exhibiting wide application prospects.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 179, June 2023.

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