Plastics leave the planet
Dusseldorf, Germany -- While many people still assume that plastic is a cheap, delicate material, the industry has...
Dusseldorf, Germany — While many people still assume that plastic is a cheap, delicate material, the industry has moved far beyond these misconceptions, as this year’s K Show theme, “Plastics in Outer SpaceSolutions for Earth” is meant to demonstrate. For example, high heat-resistant composite plastic shields capable of withstanding temperatures up to 2,800 degrees Celsius are used on space craft to resist meltdown during re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere. Unique plastic foam is used to insulate fuel tanks; as well, a thin layer of polyethylene composite foil is laid into the outer walls of the International Space Station to serve as a radiation and oxygen barrier.
In a special exhibit in Hall 6, The European Space Agency and the German Association of Plastics Manufacturing is examining the transfer this cutting-edge materials technology to the everyday world. For instance, lightweight construction methods involving the use of plastics in space could be used in the design of more mundane terrestrial transportation vehicles to improve fuel economy, save energy and reduce emissions.