Applications in Aerospace
Protecting Aircraft against Lightning Strikes
Aerospace companies currently mould in a copper mesh on the surface of the carbon fibre composite structures in order to dissipate the energy from the lightning strike and prevent damage. The addition of copper mesh adds weight (we estimate about 4 tonnes of copper in a Dreamliner), is expensive and difficult to laminate into the structure. Carbon fibre composites are increasingly being used in the construction of aircraft because they can significantly reduce weight, save fuel and reduce emissions.
By adding an electrically conductive graphene into the resin component of carbon fibre, we have increased through-thickness electrical conductivity by 600%. The electrical conductivity of the epoxy resin allows the laminate to dissipate the energy of the lightning strike throughout the structure.
Along with industrial giants Airbus, GKN and BAE Systems, we have developed an electrically conductive carbon fibre prepreg for Aerospace applications, drones and marine structures making them more resistant to lightning strikes.