Wind Energy

Copper and Aluminum Expanded MicroGrid® materials for effective lightning strike protection for composite wind turbine blades

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Lightning Strike Protection for new Composite Wind Blades

As the power output requirements increase for wind turbines, wind generator manufacturers are moving towards larger blades to rotate these larger turbines at lower wind speeds. As the wind blades increase to over 45 meters in length, blade construction is moving away from the more traditional all fiberglass construction to utilize more carbon fiber. The carbon fiber provides a substantial weight savings and increased strength to combat the extreme stress loads exerted on the blades during operation. Carbon fiber, however, is conductive and more prone to be struck by lightning and the carbon fiber is not conductive enough to channel the energy out of the blade. Without proper protection, they are susceptible to severe damage and catastrophic failure in the event of a lightning strike.

For two decades Dexmet has been working with aircraft designers developing precision expanded MicroGrid® foils for lightning strike protection on carbon fiber composite aircraft. Benefiting from the development work done in the aircraft industry, Wind Blade Manufactures are also realizing the importance of having the proper lightning strike protection for larger carbon fiber blades and incorporating Dexmet’s precision expanded MicroGrid® materials into their designs. Dexmet MicroGrid® materials are thin, open area products applied to the top adhesive layer of the composite and are capable of achieving the critical conductivity required to dissipate a destructive lightning strike, protecting the carbon fiber layer below. Dexmet’s expanded copper and aluminum MicroGrid meshes are essential at extending the life of carbon fiber composite blades. In addition to protecting blades, lightning strike materials can also be incorporated into the composite turbine nacelles for additional protection of the structure.



Dexmet MicroGrid® Advantages

Lightning Protection materials are available in either copper or aluminum in a wide range of configurations to mininimize weight while maximizing conductivity across a wide blade surface

expanded mesh for wind blades

Proven Technology For Lightning Strike Protection

Tested to IEC64100 Specification

Highly Conductive Patterns Matched To Specific Requirements

Configured to withstand multiple lighting strikes of the blade surface. Effective down conductor material

Easily Repairable For Low Maintenance Costs And Minimal Downtime

Ensures no structural damage to the composite materials below making for lower downtime and more economical repairs

windblade construction

MicroGrid® Materials for Wind Applications

With all rotary blades, lighting is more prone to hit the leading edge and the outer blade surfaces towards the tips where the highest amount of static energy is generated. For these locations, heavier, more conductive materials are utilized.

As you move towards the root of the blade, a lighter weight material can be incorporated to reduce weight and cost. The variability with Dexmet’s expanding process provides the capability of producing a custom material based on desired weight, conductivity, or open area to meet exact application requirements.    


Common MicroGrid Materials for Lightning Protection

Below is a chart of some typical materials used for surface protection and down conductors in wind blade construction


Lightning Strike Protection for Wind Turbines

MicroGrid® Expanded Metal Foils For Composite Wind Turbine Blades

To learn more about the benefits of Dexmet’s expanded MicroGrid® materials, witness its lightning protection performance or understand how it can reduce your maintenance costs and down time, visit our web site and let us show you how to incorporate the innovative MicroGrid materials into your composite designs and start recognizing the benefits today.

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Talk to a Dexmet Expert About Wind Blade Materials

Let us help you work through your blade design needs. Contact one of our experts to learn more about implementing MicroGrid to your blade design