Graphene-winged Prospero drone to take flight

First drone with graphene-skinned wings to debut this week at the Farnborough Airshow.
By Geoff Ziezulewicz  |  Updated July 16, 2016 at 11:53 AM
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WATERLOO, Ontario, July 15 (UPI) -- Prospero, the first graphene-wing drone, takes its first flight this week at the Farnborough Airshow.

The Prospero drone is a research collaboration between the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Manchester's National Graphene Institute.

Graphene, a sheet of carbon one atom thick, is strong while still being lightweight and flexible, and has "huge potential for aerospace" Billy Beggs, UCLan's engineering innovation manager, said in a statement.

"The research team is still in the early stages of flight testing with the new remotely piloted aircraft but initial test data is already very encouraging," Beggs said. "In terms of impact resistance the new wing is showing increased levels of impact resistance of up to 60 percent over a conventionally-skinned carbon fibre wing."

Graphene is the thinnest, lightest compound known to man and is between 100 and 300 times stronger than steel.

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