Cutting-edge nano-materials and sector-leading research on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) met today in world-first aeronautic collaboration.
Today (September 15th, 2015) saw the first flight of a UAV part-constructed with graphene, a new nano-material that the thinnest material on Earth. The project was a result of a research partnership between the University of Central Lancashire’s College of Science and Technology and CIvic Drone Centre, and the University of Manchester’s National Graphene Institute.
Graphene offers a range of advantages over other materials. It is 200 times stronger than steel, fire resistant and a powerful insulator. As such, the research project sought to ascertain the potential for graphene to provide real advantages to the aviation sector.
The test flight, carried out in Preston, sought to trial graphene within a UAV to test its robustness, aerodynamic properties and how it can be integrated into the manufacturing process.
Professor Paul Egglestone, director of the Civic Drone Centre, said: “Our centre seeks to innovate new technologies and materials for the UAV community, and graphene could be a radical and important part of next generation of drones.
“Today’s test flight is an important first step in discovering how graphene can be integrated within the aerospace industry, and collaborating with the National Graphene Institute provided the partners with an opportunity to conduct research with a viable real-world application. We’re looking forward to continuing this work over the next few months and years.”
The test flight was operated by IRIS Group, who provide ground and piloting services.