One of the coolest news items to break during AU 2015 was the collaboration between Autodesk and Airbus to design and 3D print a groundbreaking new partition for the A320.
Partitions are certainly not be the sexiest part of a plane (not that I have a particular opinion on what that might be… the undercarriage, perhaps? 🙂 but even they can have a significant impact on its performance and therefore the environment. Each A320 currently sports a 65kg partition at the back – separating the passenger compartment from the galley – that supports two crew seats and can be opened in medical emergencies to make space for a stretcher.
The aim of the project – undertaken by the Airbus group’s APWorks and The Living (an Autodesk studio) – was to design a partition that’s 30% lighter while maintaining or improving its structural properties. When you think that there are around 6,500 of the A320 family in active service – with another 5,500 on order – that’s a significant environmental impact. Airbus estimates that this could save 465,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions per year!