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Enhancement of electrical conductivity of carbon fibre composite for resisting lightening strike on aircrafts

   Faculty of Engineering, Computing and the Environment

   Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

In the structure of new advanced civil aircrafts the main fuselage structures are being redesigned to use carbon fibre-reinforced composites (CFRP) mainly due to their lightweight, high specific stiffness and strength. However one of the main drawbacks from changing from electrically conductive Aluminium fuselage to insulating or semi-conducting FRP composites is the susceptibility of the aircraft to lightning strike damage. The current protection technology based on bonding a metal mesh to the surface of the composite structure, but this negatively affect the aircraft load carrying capacity and reduce the fuel efficiency. Advanced materials such as polymer-based nanocomposites and carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are promising candidates for lightweight lightning strike protection technology.

In this project lightning strike protection (LSP) systems for carbon fibre reinforced polymer composite (FRPC) will be developed with simultaneous damage detection capability. For this purpose CNTs will be used in the FRPC. The developed electrical conductivity of the composite system and its damage detection capabilities are verified experimentally. The objectives are to increase anti-lightening and damage detection in the form of cracks or delamination in aircraft structure. The sensitivity of the technology to the size of damages will be investigated.

Funding Notes

There is no funding for this project: only applications from self-funded candidates can be considered

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