Back to Squawk list
  • 22

Lufthansa replicates sharkskin to boost fuel efficiency of cargo jets

Lufthansa Cargo, Lufthansa Technik and BASF have partnered to develop a new coating for aircraft to make them slip through the air with less friction. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

martin adams 1
Very cool to see this. I never understood why things that travel through air, where drag becomes the dominant force to push against, didn't adopt the aerodynamic trick of the dimples on the golf-ball disturbing the boundary layer!
Dave Mathes 3
...'cuz the club to launch them would be HUGE...
Bob Kamman 4
"When burned in the engine, the same amount of carbon dioxide is released that was previously removed from the atmosphere during the original growth of the plants."

That's right. Blame it all on the plants. But couldn't the same be said about fossil fuels?
Daniel Griscom 3
Increasing bio-fuel production increases the amount of carbon taken out of the atmosphere when the feed stock is grown. Increasing coal/oil production doesn't do that; nobody's pumping CO2 into the ground to make more coal or petroleum. (That said, I'm not a big fan of bio-fuels; they take a lot of energy and land to produce.)
Roy Hunte 0
Ha, the problem is that plants survive on Carbon dioxide. Not sure what that climate goat was trying say...

[This comment has been downvoted. Show anyway.]

You are right that we can't live without CO2 in our atmosphere. Without it, it would Earth would be too cold and life as we know today would not be possible. There are years of climate records from ice cores and rock cores that prove this. However, there is also large amounts of past climate data that shows the amount of CO2 in Earth's atmosphere does play a factor in the climate of the Earth. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. Even in small amounts, it traps sunlight and heat within the atmosphere and increases temperature.

Climate change is a big threat to us. While aviation isn't the biggest contributor to total CO2 emissions, it still plays a role in it. It is good to see airlines and manufacturers strive for more efficient technologies because it is better for the environment and in the long run, better for our wallets.

Here is a link for climate change data if you are interested in science and facts of it:
Roy Hunte -7
Climate change is not a threat to us, what a load of BS. Those who think CO2 is a problem should stop breathing, humans and animals breathe out CO2. The CO2 haters should stop breathing if they want to stop CO2 emissions.
This has nothing to do with breathing. Humans and animals breathing out CO2 is generally sustainable by plants. Its just when we add to that load we get problems, on top of cutting down trees and plants that help remove this extra CO2 from the atmosphere.

What Lufthansa is doing is awesome and I hope other airlines follow suit. Carbon neutrality should be a goal. I love aviation and the sound of the mighty GE90 as much as you guys, but I'm not going to deny climate change is a problem and aviation is contributing to it. Things need to be done and if we keep doing things like what Lufthansa is doing then it will help curb it while still allowing commercial aviation to exist. Plus, its also helping them save money in the long term, which will lower ticket prices.

Please stop denying climate change. The evidence is around us. You don't even need to look it up, with more extreme weather in recent years its clear that things aren't the same as they used to be.
martin adams 1
Harry, I understand your comments and yes, CO2 is not all bad. Actually, by itself is not a pollutant in the strictly technical term. You aren't wrong about that! Everything else you wrote shows that you don't get it - even if you are 83 and you worked for a NASA contractor. Does not matter. You are focused on completely the wrong points. If you appear to authority, I will too. I am a mechanical engineer and focus on research in heating and cooling. Perhaps hear me out? I am not here to make fun of you for not understanding but it just grinds my gears that people often fail to understand simple physics (which is the study of the natural laws around us - the very same ones that allow us to improve the airplanes we know and love!)

One the one hand, it is perhaps not really useful to dedicate this time to write these few sentences to you but it is a personal appeal from me to you to stop writing about something that is demonstrably wrong.

To debunk the issue of CO2 we should start with plants - yes, they do need CO2. There is no denying it. In fact, they tend to grow even better under higher PPM levels than those have in our atmosphere. This makes sense if you look at the photosynthesis process. CO2 is needed. The higher the gas concentration, the higher the plant growing process.

The big caveat is that the CO2, just like the regular air mixture, is an insulation gas. Have you worked in this area before? Perhaps you know that when we insulate our buildings better, we use less energy. Never mind the impact on the environment. Better insulation means less heat exchange between the building and the ambient environment. Right? Well, perhaps you also know that the way this insulation works is (most often) by simply trapping air. Seems harmless, right? And yet it works! This is because, when air is trapped within the material used the insulate the building (styrofoam or fiberglass wool), the heat transfer occurs via conduction (ie by touching) and via radiation (less important when temperature differences are smaller. The heat now needs to travel across that air bubble. How high is this rate? Good question, at standard conditions (room temperature (300K) and ambient pressure (1bar)), the air (which is a well-mixed mixture of gases) conducts heat at the rate of 0.026 W/mK. So, the lower that number, the better insulation (ie spending less money on heating fuel or on electricity for cooling).

Now, for the crazy part? Well, if we look at another gas - CO2 - at those same conditions, we see that it has a thermal conductivity of 0.0017 W/mK. This means that CO2 actually reduces the rate of heat transfer. Essentially, to make a more effective insulation material, we should inject CO2 gas into it (as long as it is sealed and does not circulate).

So.... now to look at the big picture... when we increase the CO2 concentration in the earth's atmosphere, we have an insulation layer that makes it a bit harder for heat to enter and escape. This means that the earth's atmosphere reduces the SPEED of heat release to space that was collected during the day. Does that make sense?

To the regular person, this tiny difference in gas composition in the atmosphere should hardly make a big difference. In truth, it really only is a tiny amount. But compound all of that heat that is stored due to the higher insulation properties of the atmosphere and you start to get some big numbers. So big that it starts to make a difference as I showed previously with the CO2 versus air conductivity.

Again, CO2 is not directly the worst pollutant ever when compared to other lethal gases. The problem with CO2 is that it DOES make up the majority of climate-heating gases that are released by us humans into our atmosphere. These atmosphere-insulation-improving gases are therefore called 'greenhouse gasses' as they make it warmer. In this context, CO2 was labeled a 'pollutant' as it is a GHG. By itself, nothing has actual meaning other than the physical properties - in the context of climate change, CO2 is labeled a pollutant as it affects the atmosphere in a way that is negative to us humans. Now, if you want to read up more on how CO2 has been studied in many different ways to confirm the basic premise I explored above, then I quote the 'advanced' explanation from here:

> The amount of warming caused by the anthropogenic increase in atmospheric CO2 may be one of the most misunderstood subjects in climate science. Many people think the anthropogenic warming can't be quantified, many others think it must be an insignificant amount. However, climate scientists have indeed quantified the anthropogenic contribution to global warming using empirical observations and fundamental physical equations.

Feel free to go through the site if you want, but it is tedious. It is science, after all! Anyone can actually do it but it is really frustrating and difficult - which is why not everyone decides to be a scientist (and there is no harm is that!)

At the end, I bet I haven't convinced you, right? I didn't think so. It is the reason why many smart people have given up on trying to discuss the science with naysayers. After all, they don't understand the science, cannot understand the science or are simply too deep in their own way of thinking that they cannot look beyond their own bias. HOWEVER, I have taken the time here today, to write to you a bit and explain it from a very basic perspective. I imagine it may have been a waste of time writing this here but if you finished reading this, I appreciate your effort to at least give it a go.

Here's to science that allows our species to develop sharkskin-like coatings for aircraft. Very slick!
Harry Ellett -5
The negative marks by my comments do not bother me at all. However, I am not a person writing about something I know nothing about, I am 83 years old now and I have not been a causal reader about the climate subject. I have been very seriously studying the subject for more than 20 years. Have been reading and studying material from scientist from all over the world. I have also read a lot of material on the subject written by NASA. For years I worked for a company who was a NASA contractor and I still know people currently employed by NASA. Of all the comments here by others just shows how little they know and understand of the subject.

Mr. Roy Hunte's comments are the only response that is correct. Thank you Mr. Hunte.

People who are depending on information from the main-stream-media on the subject of climate are just lost. If that is where your information comes from, you know nothing.

Weather the Earth's temperature gets warmer or colder has nothing to do with CO2. CO2 is what feeds green growing things, rain forest, other forest, farm crops and so on. Since the oxygen we breathe is produced by the green plants of the Earth, the CO2 is necessary for them to live and produce that oxygen. So, without the CO2 there would be no oxygen and no food crops from the Earth. No grass or grain for cattle to feed on meaning no meat for humans to eat.

Your comments about CO2 only show your lack of knowledge about how and why life thrives on this Earth.

When the creator created this Earth, the essential thing he created to sustain that life is CO2. Without it there would be no live here on Earth.

Someone mentioned the Ice Core samples being studied. I have read some of those ice core studies and from those studies we know at times throughout the history of the Earth CO2 levels on Earth have been as high as 4,000 ppm (parts per million) and there were lush green covering most of the Earth. So the current level of only 420 ppm is a very low CO2 level. If CO2 levels were much higher today than they are, green vegetation would begin to grow around the deserts of the world. Speaking of NASA, there satellite images of today do show some getting greener about our Earths deserts. Folks, that is because of an increase of CO2 in our atmosphere.

When I first began to study this subject, Earths CO2 was at a much lower level. I have been very happy to see that increase in the CO2 levels.

If younger and in better health, I could put on a seminar on this subject but unfortunately, I am no longer younger and neither am I in good health.

There is so much more............
Chris Lennard -1
You could have stopped at " I'm 83 years old....", that's when I stopped reading.

Grand kids, great grand kids, great great grand kids?
DNev 2
You are a fool to ignore the wisdom of age. That is your folly. If your kids, and your grand kids, and your great great grand kids think the same way you do, they will quickly ignore anything you have to say....and the circle of life in your case will be complete.
Chris Lennard 4
I absolutely agree ignoring the wisdom of age is foolish. Careful what you classify as wisdom though, some of it is just cantancerous obstinate nonsense....for an example, never mind.....
Franky16 -1
Harry and Roy - you are both dead right. I have a pic which I took a couple of years ago in The Museum of London, who over many years took thousands of core samples in London right back to the first footprint. The UK was then part of Europe, and a later ice age resulted in a glacier from the north cutting out the now English Channel. The pic is a bar chart of the differing temperature levels with the peaks and troughs 50,000 years apart. From the very beginning the levels of high and low temperatures have been almost equal since time immemorial, and we are currently at the peak of the latest warm period, so a cold period is due in about 50,000 years. Keep up the good work.
Bob Kamman 3
You are confusing local weather with global climate. I take it you have no grandchildren?


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
This website uses cookies. By using and further navigating this website, you accept this.
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.