Lufthansa has partnered with Airbus and the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials (IFAM) to test a new surface coating that mimics shark skin on two Airbus A340-300s.
Shark skin technology that has previously been tested on ships and more famously was used by Michael Phelps and other competitive swimmers; until it was banned by The International Swimming Federation might be used by Lufthansa in near future.
The new technology mocks the riblet effect of a shark's skin in aircraft paints -- tiny riblets on the surface reduce flow resistance when moving at speed.
Latest research indicates that shark skin structures can reduce fuel consumption by about 1 percent and lower operating costs.
Eight 10 x 10 centimeter patches of the special lacquer coating have been attached to the fuselage and wings of the two aircraft.
It’s hoped that the new coating system will enhance the aerodynamics and energy efficiency of the plane.The new coating is also dirt-repellent, UV-stable and abrasion- and erosion-resistant.