New aircraft coating

A new solar-heat-management coating system by PPG Industries’ aerospace business is helping keep aircraft passenger cabins cooler.

A novel PPG Aerospace solar-heat-management coating system can reduce external aircraft skin temperatures up to 25 degrees F, helping keep interior cabin temperatures cooler by 5 to 7 degrees.

“Airlines often avoid dark colours for airplane liveries because they can absorb as much as 90 percent of solar energy, which in turn heats the interior while a plane is on the ground,” said Mark Cancilla, PPG global director for aerospace coatings. “Our innovative paint technology means airlines no longer have to avoid dark colours. In fact, the darker the colour, the greater the difference there is in total solar reflectance. There is no compromise of other coating properties.”

PPG solar-heat-management coatings technology is based on development of novel pigment dispersions, or stainers, that increase transmittance of near-infrared energy, or heat, through a dark coating and increase the subsequent reflection from a white underlayer. Cancilla said the technology is modelled after the eggplant (aubergine), which naturally remains cool to the touch even when exposed to intense sunshine. The eggplant’s dark purple skin does not absorb near-IR radiation but transmits it to the white interior flesh, where it is reflected and transmitted out through the skin.

PPG’s technology works in the same way. Cancilla said PPG’s solar-heat-management coating system is being evaluated by several airlines and aircraft manufacturers.