What will pilots of Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner be sleeping on? Aerospace honeycomb with a flexible twist

SAN JOSE, CA, September 8, 2008—Rest periods for pilots and crew of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft are sure to be rejuvenating thanks to the Stimulite® Honeycomb Mattress and its thousands of spring-like cells. Designers of the futuristic, all-composite aircraft chose cutting-edge technology found in medical support surfaces to bring better pressure distribution for more comfort and relaxation in its crewrest quarters.

A flexible form of aerospace honeycomb fabricated from elastomers, Stimulite honeycomb has a proven track record in the medical arena for preventing pressure sores among bedridden patients. Tens of thousands of soft honeycomb cells surround and support the anatomy, flexing with movement to stimulate blood flow, relax muscles and rejuvenate the body.

With its focus on reducing fuel consumption, the Dreamliner needed a lightweight cushioning material that was more comfortable than foam for its crewrest quarters. Stimulite honeycomb’s cellular matrix is 92% open space, 8% material.

“It was a natural solution and a perfect fit for this revolutionary, all-composite airplane,” said Susan Wilson, vice president and creative director of Supracor, manufacturer of Stimulite. “It provides even pressure distribution which means more comfort at a fraction of the thickness of conventional foam cushioning.” Perforations in the cell walls of the honeycomb allow air to circulate and moisture to evaporate, maintaining a controlled microclimate for more comfort and relaxation.

Composed of the same material used in wound dressings, Stimulite honeycomb is naturally antimicrobial and recyclable. “Stimulite was meant to be in aerospace,” Wilson adds. “It has the same geometry as the structural honeycomb composites used throughout the aircraft, except that it’s soft, flexible and ventilated.”

Supracor is the originator of fusion-bonded honeycomb technology, a flexible form of aerospace honeycomb utilized in products that promote the health and safety of people and animals. Initially applied to wheelchair cushions and hospital mattresses for pressure sore prevention, Stimulite honeycomb is the basis of a revolutionary line of personal care products. Supracor’s shock-absorbing honeycomb can be found in high-performance applications such as bullet-proof vests, sports protective equipment and bumpers for amusement park rides. All of Supracor’s products are exclusively made in California’s Silicon Valley from recyclable materials.

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Supracor and Stimulite are registered trademarks of Supracor, Inc.