Specialty Polymers for Aeronautics

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Saving Energy in Commercial Aviation


In the same way they have contributed to Solar Impulse, Solvay scientists and engineers are helping to transform the commercial aviation industry, reducing fuel consumption costs and making aircraft more energy efficient through lightweighting, battery and fuel cell technology.

Ensuring Aircraft Safety and Reliability


We depend on safe, reliable aircraft for business and leisure travel. There is no room for error in choosing materials that perform at the highest levels of safety and reliability throughout the aircraft. Our experience with Solar Impulse has driven us to deliver that promise to our airline customers and partners. They rely on Solvay innovation and attention to detail to get it right every time.

Aircraft Structure & Composites


Advanced composites and other materials for today’s lightest, strongest and most fuel efficient aircraft. We offer a comprehensive range of specialty polymers, oligomers and monomers in a variety of molecular weights and particle sizes for use in advanced composites. Product forms include powders, fibers, films and foams. With our partner Aonix Advanced Materials, we are accelerating the development and commercialization of mass-produced, thermoplastic composites made of Solvay’s high-performance polymers.

Aircraft Interiors - Safety, Comfort and Flexibility


Our goal is to help the airline industry deliver superior passenger service on every flight. Our specialty polymer materials and applications are the right choice for passenger safety and comfort, meeting the highest regulatory standards and reducing fuel consumption through lightweighting. Airlines have the utmost flexibility in updating aircraft cabins with new colors and surfaces as the seasons change or as new marketing programs come to life.

Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse: From Imagination to Innovation

Solar Impulse is the first perpetual endurance airplane on an epic journey around the world without consuming a drop of fuel. After 12 years of research and through a partnership in which Solvay, as the first main partner, played a central role, Solar Impulse departed from Abu Dhabi, UAE, in March 2015 on the first leg of its global, 100% solar-powered flight. At the controls, two aviation pioneers, Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg.

Solvay’s Lightweighting Materials

At the core of Solar Impulse’s stunning achievement is Solvay’s innovation in specialty polymers, lightweight materials and aircraft components, applied to energy capture and storage, structure, metal replacement, lubrication and numerical simulation. Solvay scientists were challenged with rethinking everything we know about materials in modern aviation and breaking down the old assumptions about aircraft weight, power, structural integrity and comfort. Together, we are setting new standards for lightweight aircraft that will make commercial aviation more efficient, reduce power consumption and emissions and make the planet a safer place for our families.

A few facts about Solar Impulse:

  • Wingspan = 72m, about the same as an Airbus A380
  • Weight = 2.3 tonnes, about 243 times lighter than a commercial aircraft
  • Power = 4 electric engines @ 17.5 HP each
  • Photovoltaic (Solar) Cells = 270 m2 (mostly on the wings)
  • Engine Energy Loss = 6% vs 7% for conventional engines
  • Hydrocarbon Fuel Consumption = 0
  • CO2Emissions = 0



Solar Impulse | Righetti | Rezo.ch