Lightning Strike Protection and Electromagnetic Interference Shielding for Composite Structures using Metallic Nanofilms

P.K. Bollavaram, V.R. Patlolla, M.M. Rahman, R. Asmatulu
Wichita State University,
United States

Keywords: lightning strike, electromagnetic interference shielding, composite structures, metallic nanofilms


Carbon fiber composites are very much imperative to future-generation aircraft structures. However, lightning strike protection and electromagnetic interference are the main concerns of today’s aerospace industries. Carbon fibers have very good mechanical properties with the best strength-to-weight ratios, but are very poor conductors of electricity, especially when embedded with a resin system. These fibers must be reinvented to increase the electrical conductivity of an aircraft structure and to increase the surface conductance of the composite. This present study deals with preparing composite sandwich structures of carbon fibers used for commercial nacelle applications subject to lightning strike effects with different metallic nanofilms. During the tests, the voltages on the conductive composite surfaces were found to be low; hence, an increase in current would help to reduce the damage on composite panels due to lightning strikes. The same theory would be applicable to EMI. When lightning strikes were applied to composite coupons, the resulting damage from the currents was reduced on those with metallic nanofilms. C-scan results for the area of damage were correlated with results pertaining to lightning strikes and electromagnetic inference.