Lightning Strike Protection and EMI Shielding of Fiber Reinforced Composite for Military Aircraft via Goal and Silver Nanofilms

P. K. Bollavaram, M. M. Rahman, and R. Asmatulu
Wichita State University, Kansas, United States

Keywords: Fiber Reinforced Composites, Lightning Strike, EMI Shielding, Au and Ag Nanofilms.

Carbon fiber reinforced composites are very much imperative to future-generation aircraft structures. However, lightning strike protection (LSP) and electromagnetic interference (EMI) are main concerns. Carbon fibers have very good mechanical properties with the best strength-to-weight ratio, but they are very poor conductors of electricity. These fibers must be reinvented to increase the the surface conductance to provide high electrical conductivity to the aircraft structure. The 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 of gold (Au) and silver (Ag) measuring approximately 100 nm. These metallic nanofibers were cocured on the top layers of composite panels during vacuum curing process. In our laboratory, lightning strike results for a composite sandwich structure using gold nanofilm were obtained to observe lightning strike damage and structural tolerance necessary to observe the damage tolerance capability. Resistance of composite panels with metallic nanofilm under various strains was studied. 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 interference.