April 7, 2015 – Good news for airlines thinking of creating a cool new livery: a new solar-heat-management coating system by PPG Industries is claimed to reduce external aircraft skin temperatures up to 25°F, and to help keep aircraft cabins cooler by 5-7°F.
“Airlines often avoid dark colors for airplane liveries because they can absorb as much as 90% of solar energy, which in turn heats the interior while a plane is on the ground,” said Mark Cancilla, PPG’s global director for aerospace coatings. “Our innovative paint technology means airlines no longer have to avoid dark colors. In fact, the darker the color, the greater the difference there is in total solar reflectance. There is no compromise of other coating properties.”
The coatings technology is based on development of novel pigment dispersions, or stainers, which 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 modeled after the eggplant, 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. According to Cancilla, PPG’s technology works in the same way and is being evaluated by several airlines and aircraft manufacturers.