Composites for Enhanced Lightning Performance

Initiator Fund

Project period: May – July 2014

GW4 Community Leads
University of Bath: Richard Butler
University of Bristol: Fabrizio Scarpa
Cardiff University: Manu Haddad
University of Exeter: Chris Smith

Project outcomes
This project addresses the ‘Advanced Materials’ grand challenge through the development of innovative lightweight materials and coatings with improved mechanical and electrical properties under lightning strike for the aerospace sector. Unlike metals, such materials cannot effectively dissipate lightning energy leading to complex and destructive behaviour. There is a clear need for strategic cross-engineering research to meet the step-change required.

This project has developed a new GW4 consortium specialising in lightning tolerant composites and coatings, material characterisation and lighting research. This has enabled knowledge sharing amongst project partners and the establishment of valuable new links. The combination of research capabilities, test facilities, expertise and industrial links of the four groups has the potential to place the GW4 consortium in a unique world-leading position, beyond capabilities of any other group.

All four members of the GW4 consortium attended the first EMC (Electromechanical Characterisation of Carbon Composites) Network colloquium in June. The only academic organisation to attend the industry focused network, they actively participated and helped to identify several key research and development ideas alongside industry.