Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Lightning Strike Induced Damage Mechanisms of Carbon Fiber Composites
by Kawakami, Hirohide, Ph.D., University of Washington, 2011, 342; 3501873
Abstract (Summary)

Composite materials have a wide application in aerospace, automotive, and other transportation industries, because of the superior structural and weight performances. Since carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites possess a much lower electrical conductivity as compared to traditional metallic materials utilized for aircraft structures, serious concern about damage resistance/tolerance against lightning has been rising.

Main task of this study is to clarify the lightning damage mechanism of carbon fiber reinforced epoxy polymer composites to help further development of lightning strike protection. The research on lightning damage to carbon fiber reinforced polymer composites is quite challenging, and there has been little study available until now. In order to tackle this issue, building block approach was employed. The research was started with the development of supporting technologies such as a current impulse generator to simulate a lightning strike in a laboratory. Then, fundamental electrical properties and fracture behavior of CFRPs exposed to high and low level current impulse were investigated using simple coupon specimens, followed by extensive parametric investigations in terms of different prepreg materials frequently used in aerospace industry, various stacking sequences, different lightning intensity, and lightning current waveforms. It revealed that the thermal resistance capability of polymer matrix was one of the most influential parameters on lightning damage resistance of CFRPs. Based on the experimental findings, the semi-empirical analysis model for predicting the extent of lightning damage was established. The model was fitted through experimental data to determine empirical parameters and, then, showed a good capability to provide reliable predictions for other test conditions and materials. Finally, structural element level lightning tests were performed to explore more practical situations. Specifically, filled-hole CFRP plates and patch-repaired CFRP plates were selected as structural elements likely to be susceptible to lightning event. This study forms a solid foundation for the understanding of lightning damage mechanism of CFRPs, and become an important first step toward building a practical damage prediction tool of lighting event.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Feraboli, Paolo
Commitee:
School: University of Washington
School Location: United States -- Washington
Source: DAI-B 73/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Aerospace engineering, Mechanical engineering, Materials science
Keywords: Carbon fibers, Damage tolerance, Epoxy, Lightning
Publication Number: 3501873
ISBN: 9781267237439
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