Loughborough University
ICCM21 Xian lightening damage final.pdf (320.03 kB)

Study of damage characteristics in composite structures from simulated lightning strikes

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conference contribution
posted on 2018-04-10, 09:51 authored by Gang ZhouGang Zhou, James Golding, Xujin BaoXujin Bao, Weiwei Sun
This work investigated experimentally the direct effects of simulated lightning strikes in carbon/epoxy and E-glass/epoxy laminates. The direct effects were represented by Joule heating and kinetic shock waves. The experimental set-up was designed to maximize these direct effects by employing a solid electrode, pointed vertically to the surface of the specimens with a small electrode gap. The damage mechanisms were found to be in the form of resin sublimation, delamination and fibre tufting. The damage characteristics depended on type of composite materials, lightning current and action integral. In the carbon/epoxy laminates, resin sublimation and degradation were dominant at relatively low currents and with the further increase in current fibre tufting appeared due to kinetic shock waves. Penetration into the laminates was found to be limited to the only top two plies in the extreme case. The damage characteristics of the E-glass/epoxy laminates with a tiny hole were dominated by extensive delamination due entirely to shock waves with little sign of Joule heating. Analytical work will be desired to aid establishment of relationships between the damage characteristics and the lightning strike parameters via lightning channel radius and raised temperatures.


The first author would like to acknowledge the financial support from a 2011 Loughborough University’s ‘Networking’/EPSRC – Bridging the Gaps grant.



  • Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering


  • Aeronautical and Automotive Engineering

Published in

21st International Conference on Composite Materials


ZHOU, G. ...et al., 2017. Study of damage characteristics in composite structures from simulated lightning strikes. Presented at the 21st International Conference on Composite Materials (ICCM-21), Xi'an, China, 20th-25th August 2017, paper no 4350.


Chinese Society for Composite Materials


  • VoR (Version of Record)

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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This is a conference paper.


  • en


Xian, China