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Modelling of Lightning Strike-Induced Shock Wave Damage in CFRP Composites



Composite structures made of carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRPs) are getting increasing uses in modern aerospace, green energy, marine, and transportation industries due to their high strength-weight ratio and high stiffness-weight ratio. However, the inclusion of CFRP composites in mainframes of modern engineered structures presents special problems regarding lightning strike threat. During a lightning strike, a large amount of energy is delivered in a very short time, inducing the ionised channel to expand with a supersonic speed. The sudden high-temperature plasma expansion creates a shock wave propagating in the CFRP composites, which may cause the severe deformation of structures and even mechanical damage. This work develops a finite element (FE) model to predict shock wave-induced damage in a CFRP laminate with full electrical-thermal protection. A surface plasma expansion model was introduced assuming partial energy transfer from the lightening current to the plasma pulse. The FE model was validated by an existing experiment, considering the failure behaviour such as intra-laminar damage and interlaminar delamination of the CFRP laminate.


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