Haydale's subsidiary Haydale Composite Solutions (HCS), has entered into a collaborative 18 month research project awarded and managed by the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP) and involves two end users, Airbus UK and BAE Systems. The research project aims to produce a material less likely to be damaged by lightning strike on an aircraft.
Carbon fiber composites are used extensively in aircraft applications such as fuselages, leading edges and wing surfaces. However, because the carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composite materials are poor conductors of electricity they are prone to damage caused by lightning strike. The aim of this new project is to develop highly electrically conductive epoxy resins through the addition of functionalized graphene which, when combined with conductive carbon fiber, is expected to result in a highly conductive carbon fiber reinforced epoxy composite material capable of withstanding lightning strike.
This advance material should bring about safer aircraft, savings in both weight and cost by eliminating the need for expensive metallic meshes, and reducing the production time associated with integrating the meshes into the structure.
Collaborating in the project are Cobham, SHD Composites and HCS (supplier of functionalized graphene enhanced epoxy resins). NATEP is providing a grant of up to £150,000 towards the £300,000 cost of the research project, of which Haydale will receive up to £100,000.