NASA has awarded $16.5 million between four research groups to be used for continued development of private and commercial aviation (airliner) technology in order to improve the next generation of aircraft by providing improved safety, fuel and cost efficiency.
The study is aimed at 2030/35 timeframe aircraft, so called “N+3 Generation” (“three generations beyond the current fleet”) that includes Boeing, MIT, General Electric & Cessna.
General Electric (GE)/Cessna teams have developed a “magic skin” with self healing properties that in event of exterior impact damage, lightning strikes, extreme temperatures, electromagnetic interference (EMI) and would protect and even self heal the effected material surface whilst provided additional insulation from cabin exterior noise.
The “magic skin” is a development of an original GE/Cessna N+3 study completed a just a little over a year ago. The protective outer skin is called STAR-C2: “Smoothing, Thermal, Absorbing, Reflective, Conductive, Cosmetic”.
The study was aimed at development of a thin outer skin made form a conductive film and an energy absorbing foam that would coat the whole of each aircraft.
The final report from the GE/Cessna team calculated that development of such a skin could cut the weight of existing environmental countermeasures by half.
The prospect of the future commercial airliner and private jet remain truly fascinating…