From lightweight to weightless: ZOTEK® F proves a winner in spacecraft interiors
Used extensively in aircraft interiors, ZOTEK® F fluoropolymer foams are inherently fire and chemical resistant. They are also incredibly light – a huge bonus for spacecraft designers.
Space tourism is about to become a reality, with inaugural commercial flights already booked out and demand for tickets surging, according to the companies vying for the lead in this new space race.
The design of the reusable spacecraft is a significant engineering achievement, with capabilities that enable repeatable use at unprecedented frequency. Internally, cabins will offer a level of comfort more akin to that of a luxury airliner than the cramped cockpits of previous space travel.
What we did
Zotefoams’ ZOTEK® F closed cell PVDF foam is recognised as the ultimate lightweight and versatile material for aircraft interiors, boasting the highest levels of safety and comfort, so it was natural that spacecraft designers would look to ZOTEK® F as an optimal material.
With the cost per kilogram of weight in a spacecraft ranging from £10,000 to £50,000, every gram saved pays off in altitude.
“ZOTEK® F is a super lightweight, low-density material that can be formed in any number of ways, allowing us to develop prototypes easily in the studio along with flexibility in the subsequent manufacturing process,” one designer tells us. “At 15–20% of the weight of solid equivalents and mechanical properties that allow us to reduce the volume of material significantly, it is a major contributor to weight-saving targets.”
ZOTEK® F features extensively throughout the interior of one of the first commercial spacecraft. Aside from weight and safety considerations, it is adding to the comfort of seats, while minimising the VOC content of the interior as a whole, thanks to Zotefoams’ nitrogen-only expansion process.