Aluminum has been the principal material used in aircraft and aerospace construction for over 60 years. With the growing interest to construct more efficient aircraft, manufacturers are designing more components out of light-weight composite materials.
Current composite structures include engine nacelles, flaps, wing tips, and even rotary blades on helicopters and wind turbines. Composites, however, are poor conductors of electrical current. Without proper protection, they are susceptible to severe damage in the event of a lightning strike. When Dexmet expanded aluminum and copper MicroGrid materials are incorporated into the surface of these composite structures, the lightning strike energy is dissipated over the surface of the component, which prevents damage to the composite material below.
- Lightweight & Flexible
- Single Unit Structure Won't Unravel
- Controlled Open Area Conductivity to 200,000 amps
For Wind Blade applications, as with all rotary blades, lightning 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, the 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.