Aircraft manufacturers are currently looking to use composite
materials for aircraft wing skins. Nonconductive composite
materials offer little protection against lightning strikes.
Conductive nanocomposites are being developed for lightning strike
protection. This thesis explores a variety of composites including
nickel coated carbon fabric (NiCCF) alone as lightning strike
protection and with additional protection systems:
nickel-nanostrand veil (NiNS), aligned buckypaper (ABP),
non-aligned or random buckypaper (RBP), and a mixed buckypaper
(MBP) made up of vapor grown carbon fibers (VGCF) and single walled
nanotubes (SWNT). Each of the systems are tested under monotonic
compression for ultimate compressive strength as well as
compressive fatigue loading conditions before and after a simulated
lightning strike. Their behaviors are compared to determine which
system provides the best lightning strike protection. Overall
results of testing conclude that RBP lends a 20% increase in
effectiveness to lightning strike protection over the NiCCF only.
NINS decreases effectiveness of lightning strike protection by 20%.
Other systems tested showed effectiveness between these two cases.
The most common failure in specimens after strike is delamination
along the longitudinal fibers of the NiCCF and is thus deemed the
weakest point of all systems which should be mitigated in future
systems to improve effectiveness.
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