REHAU sets standards in aeronautical engineering

Dr. Martin Sonntag

High-Flying Polymers

In aeronautics, weight is directly proportional to fuel consumption, so every single gram counts, making lightweight construction a particularly crucial issue when building aircrafts. Rising jet fuel prices plus the urgent necessity to reduce emissions are of ever increasing significance and a great deal of attention is given to safety, reliability and cost effectiveness when planning fittings for aircraft interiors and choosing materials to make them from. Lightweight but tough and flexible materials are the key to success.

With its enormous wealth of expertise in producing profiles, tubes/hoses, moldings and sealing systems, REHAU has been providing the aviation industry with high-performance interior trim component solutions ever since 1980. Extensive know-how related to processing lightweight high-performance polymers is what REHAU has to offer: RAU-FLIGHT – the company’s latest unique material brainchild. Incombustible hollow glass balls measuring only 30 microns wide embedded in the plastic without the inclusion of air make them lighter but also more rigid. Intelligent design using this material makes it possible to produce lighter, thinner-walled components, thereby further optimizing weight ratios without reducing strength.

RAU-FLIGHT components are 10 to 12.6 percent lighter than those manufactured from non-reinforced thermoplastics. A grip rail system having a total weight of 48 kg, for instance, would weigh around 5 kg less if made of RAU-Flight. This has a direct impact on fuel consumption, i.e., an aircraft with around 100 kilograms of interior plastic components uses a good 2,000 liters less fuel per year if those components are made of RAU-FLIGHT.

Also, with RAU-FLIGHT, REHAU is setting entirely new standards in terms of look and feel: the hollow glass balls lend the profile surface an appropriately homogenous, matt and smooth appearance, and the formulation, granulate, production and logistics are all from a single source. And REHAU solutions are also impressive from the fire prevention point of view. Following a rigorous screening process, the REHAU development team obtained product authorization for the aviation industry in 2012.

International aviation industry customers such as Eurocopter and Lufthansa Technik appreciate REHAU innovations. Medium-range A350 jets from Airbus S.A.S. feature impact strips and handrails, seat track covers, bumper profiles and routing trunking made of RAU-FLIGHT.


Dr. Martin Sonntag

Graduate Chemist Dr. Martin Sonntag ( is Head of the Performance Compounds Team at REHAU. He has been with REHAU since 2006 and is a RAU-FLIGHT expert.

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