Low-drag Layers

© Fraunhofer IFAM

Application of a micro-structured coating using a robot

© Fraunhofer IFAM

Low-drag micro-structured surface of a riblet (sharkskin) coating

In autumn 2009 the European Union ruled that carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from aircraft and ships must be reduced by 10 and 20 percent respectively, with the same reduction applying for their fuel consumption. In the future, the CO2 emissions of aircraft and ships will be measured, and this will simultaneously serve as the basis for calculating the financial levies (emissions trading).

These boundary conditions – and the increasing fuel prices that can certainly be expected in the future – highlight the need for technical solutions to reduce the fuel consumption of all means of transport. In addition, drag has an adverse effect on the efficiency of plants used for renewable energy generation, e.g. wind energy, marine energy.

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Surface technology can play a valuable role here: Recent developments – such as the riblet (sharkskin) coating system developed at Fraunhofer IFAM – allow a significant reduction of the drag of surfaces.

The specialists at Fraunhofer IFAM develop not only coating materials for this purpose but also develop suitable application techniques and equipment and measuring devices for quality assurance.