Aircraft windshields are a critical component for flight safety. Windshields must guarantee structural resistance in static and dynamic conditions, guarantee excellent and undisturbed vision, reducing optical aberrations to a minimum in all flight envelope conditions. Windshields face a number of unique challenges, including: extreme temperature variations, high aerodynamic pressures and possible bird strikes. The construction of aeronautical windshields requires the use of advanced materials and production processes to ensure lightness, resistance, durability and guarantee flight safety.
The construction of aircraft windshields
Aircraft windshields are multilayer products, that is, they are made by combining materials with different characteristics together to obtain unique characteristics. The composite structure of a windshield includes layers of thermally or chemically tempered glass, thermoplastic interlayers, bi-axially stretched PMMA sheets, and polycarbonate. This combination of materials guarantees residual resistance (in English "fail safe") even following the failure of one or more structural slabs and offers high mechanical resistance while still guaranteeing lightness, essential for reducing carbon dioxide emissions into the environment.
To ensure undisturbed vision in all flight conditions, including those with probable ice formation, the windshields are equipped with heating systems made using transparent conductive coatings of nanometric thickness, with powers between 4000 W/m² and 8000 W/m² .
Cutting-edge technologies for the aeronautical sector
The aviation industry continues to seek innovative technologies to improve the safety and efficiency of aircraft windshields. The use of advanced materials such as transparent IR-absorbent, treated hydrophobic, anti-fog and anti-static materials to improve cabin comfort, visibility and safety are becoming increasingly common. Furthermore, the use of sensors embedded in the windshields allows real-time monitoring of the conditions of use and the detection of any damage or cracks.
Ultimately, the construction of aircraft windshields requires a combination of sophisticated composite materials and specialized processes. The use of cutting-edge technologies is constantly pushing the limits of aerospace engineering, delivering ever stronger, lighter and more sophisticated windshields.