The eggplant could be the key to cooler cabins


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.

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About Author


Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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