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TUHH and Airbus sending aerographite into space

TUHH and Airbus researchers testing ultra-light aerographite for use in aviation and space

The Institute for Synthetics and Composite Materials at the Technical University of Hamburg-Harburg (TUHH) and Airbus are testing aerographite for use in aviation and space travel, a press release said Monday (August 7, 2017). Researchers at TUHH and the University of Kiel only discovered aerographite in 2012. The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully carried out first vibrating tests. Professor Bodo Fiedler, Director of the Institute for Synthetics and Composite Materials at TUHH, said: “This successful test was the first step towards using aerographite in aviation and space travel. Now, we can start researching the diverse fields of application.”

Aerographite tested during rocket launch

Aerographite is jet black, stabile, electrically conductive, deformable and opaque. The extremely light carbon foam has a low density of only 2 milligrams per cubic centimetre and is thus 7.5 times lighter than polystyrene, experts said. However, the material is highly resilient and researchers at TUHH and Airbus have tested its performance under extremely heavy loads. To this end, a rocket launch was simulated to test the mechanical load capabilities of the material as compared to mechanical vibrations and under shock loads.

Test with unmanned aircraft

Aerographite will also be tested during a so-called “Test of High-tech Objectives in Reality” with an unmanned aircraft named Thor, which was tested fully by Airbus in 2016. Produced mostly by a 3D printer, Thor is used to try out new, risky technologies.

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