Through Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics, the Group provides a wide range of high-performance plastics specially designed for the aeronautical market and able to withstand extreme temperatures: bearings, cable sheaths, seals and foams, plastic structures for passenger seats, plastic release film for molding composites, etc.
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics also supplies aircraft radomes often made from Quartzel fiber produced by Saint-Gobain Quartz. Radomes are domes made from composite materials that protect meteorological radar and satellite communication system antennas. Thanks to Saint-Gobain radomes, passengers can now surf the Internet and watch live television during their flight.
Additionally, for more than 50 years, Saint-Gobain Sully has been manufacturing high-technology windows for the aeronautical industry. In particular, it manufactures cockpit windows in Solidion® glass for commercial aircraftairliners, private jets and helicopters, as well as windshields and acrylic canopies for fighter jets.
Saint-Gobain ADFORS manufactures Vetrotex glassfiber, used for composite parts in aircraft providing them with impact and fire resistance properties.
Lastly, Saint-Gobain Abrasives coated and bonded abrasives are used for aircraft turbine fans and cowlings. Saint-Gobain Ceramic Materials manufactures ceramic powders and ingots for high thermal resistance coatings. These innovative coatings are used by the main aircraft engine manufacturers as thermal barriers to protect essential components in hot parts of the engine.
Saint-Gobain Ceramic Materials’ SIKA® silicon carbide has been used to produce the mirrors and main frame for the space telescope of the European Gaia satellite. Very rigid and resistant to thermal shock, this product prevents the mechanical fatigue and deterioration caused by space radiation. Saint-Gobain Crystals manufactures scintillation sensors used to detect radiation (neutron and gamma rays) in space. In 1998, Saint-Gobain supplied the gamma ray spectrometer that discovered water in the form of ice on the Moon’s surface during the Lunar Prospector mission.
Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics OmniSeal® high-performance spring-energized seals manufactured with Fluoroloy® material and polyimide components from the Meldin® 7000 series (piston guide rings, bushing for poppet valve guide, etc.) can withstand extreme temperatures. They are found in fluid-gas connection systems, pressurization systems, and fuel and other fluid pumps inside rocket engines. For example, Saint-Gobain has supplied the seals for most rockets launched in the past 60 years, including the most recent SpaceX rockets. Rulon® self-lubricating bearings are also used by the aerospace market, as they withstand highly corrosive environments. They are also renowned for their self-lubricating, low-friction and wear-resistance properties.
NASA's Curiosity rover is fitted with Rulon® bearings in the robotic arms and tools for drilling. Curiosity is using a radiation detector manufactured by Saint-Gobain Crystals that detects and identifies neutrons. This material emits light when exposed to radiation. A sensor then transforms this into an electric signal, which provides NASA with data about the radiation levels on the planet’s surface.