What is it? An aerospace engineering team from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLAN) unveiled Juno, the first-ever aircraft covered with a graphene skin.
Why does it matter? Graphene has been called “supermaterial” with the potential to change the industry. The plane unveiled at Farnborough, whose wings span 3.5 meters, “demonstrates the great strides we’re making in leading a program to accelerate the uptake of graphene and other nano-materials into industry,” said UCLAN engineering innovation manager Billy Beggs.
How does it work? Graphene-skinned planes fly just like any others — but are way much more efficiently. The superstrong, superthin covering planes will be lighter, allowing them to conserve more fuel at takeoff and landing, take on heavier loads, and get better mileage on a tank of jet fuel. The UCLAN team built on earlier developments, like a graphene-skinned plane wing; they also were able to use the material internally in batteries and 3D-printed parts.