The Future of Flying will be supported by Solarpower.
The solar energy plane Solar Impulse HB-SIA landed this evening at Brussels airport after a 12 hours and 59 minutes fligh. The solar-powered aircraft constructed by Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg was greeted by a cheering crowd, which celebrated its arrival in the European capital.
With every major Premiere researchers and pioneers of the last century have set the limits of possibility further. Today the journey continues with the aim to improve life on our planet. On the way to make world flight without fuel or polluting emissions Solar Impulse will contribute to research and innovation in the service of renewable energy. The project aims to demonstrate the importance of new technologies for sustainable development and make dreams and emotions back into the center of scientific adventure.
Solar Impulse is a revolutionary concept that aims to expand the boundaries of our knowledge of the materials, energy management and the interface between man and machine. With its huge range that corresponds to that of an Airbus A340, while being very light weight features, the prototype of HB-SIA unprecedented structural and aerodynamic properties and therefore moves in an unexplored flight envelope. The structure of carbon fibers, the drive chain, the on-board instruments: Everything has been conceived and designed to save both energy to withstand the harsh environmental conditions for material and pilot at high altitude and to recognize the high standards of weight and air resistance.
The energy issue affects the entire project. For midday, every m² of the earth’s surface, an energy equivalent of 1,000 watts or 1.3 hp light intensity. Over 24 hours gives the sun an average of only 250 W / m². With 200m ² photovoltaic cells and an overall efficiency of the drive chain of 12% reached the average performance of the aircraft engines are not more than 8 hp or 6 KW. Had about as much to the Wright brothers in their first powered flight in 1903 available. And with this energy, is working on the optimization of the solar panel to the propeller, the entire team, Solar Impulse intends to fly day and night without fuel!
The construction of the prototype was only possible thanks to close cooperation between the authorities responsible for aircraft design Solar Impulse team and the various partners such as the material supplier or component manufacturers. have only thanks to that all parties adhere to the requirements identified and exploited and their potential could be developed completely new solutions in the aviation sector.
For each type of energy used, the conversion phenomena must be understood and utilized. This applies to the …
* Radiant energy of the sun
* Electrical energy in photovoltaic cells, batteries and the motors
* Chemical energy in the batteries
* Potential energy when the plane gains altitude
* Mechanical energy during the drive system
* Kinetic energy when the aircraft picks up speed
* Thermal energy in relation to to be minimized losses (friction, heating …)
EFFICIENCY AND CAPACITY
The some 12,000 photovoltaic cells made of monocrystalline silicon thickness of 145 microns are lightweight and have good efficiency. An even better efficiency, as with the panels used in space, would indeed have been possible, but you would have much too much weight to be related disadvantages for night flights, the most critical phase of flight. The main focus of the project lies on the batteries, which are still very heavy. The weight of the remaining aircraft must therefore be drastically reduced, the complete drive train, and optimization of aerodynamic efficiency with a large wingspan and a maximized for low speeds designed wing. With an energy density of 240 Wh / Kg, the weight of the batteries 400 Kg or ¼ of the total mass of the aircraft.
STRUCTURE AND MATERIALS
Solar Impulse combines rigidity, lightness and controllability in flight. The aircraft is built around a composite skeleton, consisting of a carbon fiber honeycomb sandwich structure. The wing underside is covered with a light flexible film and the top with a layer of solar cells. Every 50 cm in total connector 120 carbon fiber ribs, these two layers and give the wing its aerodynamic shape.
Under the wing of four gondolas are attached with one motor, one consisting of 70 rechargeable batteries Lithium-polymer battery and a system for monitoring state of charge and temperature. The insulation is to retain the heat generated by the batteries, which are working well at -40 ° C to 8500 meters. Each engine has a peak output of 10 hp and a transmission which limits the rotation of the two-blade propeller with a diameter of 3.5 meters to 200-400 rpm.
The on-board computer science system collects and analyzes hundreds of parameters that are required for flight control. It provides the pilot with interpretable information for its decision, transmitted to the ground team, the most important data and supplies the engines on the optimal flight configuration and charge state of the batteries balanced performance.