As part of the ‘Futures Day’ at Farnborough Airshow 2018, a three-and-a-half-meter wide graphene skinned aircraft called Juno a, was revealed on the North West Aerospace Alliance (NWAA) stand.
The university’s aerospace engineering has collaborated with the Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), Haydale Graphene Industries-(Haydale), the University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute-(NGI), and a range of other businesses to develop the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The UAV also come with graphene batteries and 3D printed parts.
Speaking on the occasion Billy Beggs, UCLan’s engineering innovation manager, said –
The industry reaction to Juno at Farnborough was superb with many positive comments about the work we’re doing. Having Juno at one the world’s biggest air shows demonstrates the great strides we’re making in leading a programme to accelerate the uptake of graphene and other nano-materials into the industry.
He further said the program supports the objective of the UK Industrial Strategy and the University’s Engineering Innovation Centre (EIC) to increase industry-related research and applications linked to key local specialisms. With Lancashire representing as the fourth largest aerospace in the world, there is no better place to develop next-generation technologies for the UK aerospace industry.
Earlier developments at the UCLan have been the world’s first flight of a graphene skinned wing and the launch of a specially designed graphene-enhanced capsule using high altitude balloons into near space.
Juno has been built by the UCLan engineering students at the Preston Campus. Haydale contributed to the supply of the material and all the graphene used in the aircraft.
Ray Gibbs CEO said –
“We are delighted to be part of the project team. Juno has highlighted the capability and benefit of using graphene to meet key issues faced by the market, such as reducing weight to increase range and payload, defeating lightning strike and protecting aircraft skins against ice build-up.
David Bailey Chief Executive of the North West Aerospace Alliance said the contributions of the North West aerospace is over £7 billion to the UK economy. This accounts for one-quarter of the UK aerospace turnover. Hence it is important this sector continues to develop next-generation technologies so that it can help the UK retain its competitive edge. He further said it was his pleasure to be a part of the Engineering Innovation Centre team at the University in developing the world’s first full graphene skinned aircraft.
As far as Juno is concerned the next step is to fly Juno and conduct further tests over the next two months.