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Innovation bigger than size at Farnborough

Innovation bigger than size at Farnborough
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Big, big and bigger. At first sight, size seems to be what matters for the aerospace industry. But if you look closer, innovation can pack a powerful punch on the future of flight. Landing gear made with titanium to give strength and to cut weight is leading the way and new materials are constantly being tested.

On planes of the future, the blades of the engine could be coated in an innovative composite material developed by UK-based nanotechnology firm Surrey Nanosystems. The coatings are the blackest known to man. And when it comes to innovation, size is not important: this is one of the smallest innovations on show at Farnborough this year and has had the biggest impact.

“It’s a light absorbent coating. It is made up of millions and millions of tiny nanotubes that absorb 99.96 percent of all the light that hits it. This type of material is used for light suppression, so in sensitive systems such as infra-red cameras, earth observation satellites, missile seekers, it’s important to reduce the amount of stray light so you get a good signal to noise ratio,” explained Steve Northam, Business Development Director at Surrey Nanosystems.

Financial backing and confidence in their product is vital for such small companies and is already paying off with the order books starting to fill, begging the question: where would the aerospace industry be without risk and investment?