Haydale has launched a range of graphene-enhanced prepreg materials for lightning-strike protection, utilizing functionalized graphene to improve the electrical conductivity.
The material has been developed in collaboration with Airbus UK, BAE Systems, GE Aviation and Element Materials Technology Warwick, within the NATEP-supported GraCELs project where the first iterations of materials were developed and subjected to lighting strike tests. The consortium is now looking to manufacture a demonstrator component using the materials developed to establish composite manufacturing protocols as a showcase part for commercial purposes.
This prepreg material aims to deliver a new generation of carbon fiber-reinforced composites having improved electrical conductivity. These materials can be used for structural components as well as for enclosures for the electronic avionics systems.
The materials developed have potential applications with regards to UAVs (drones) along with commercial aviation in general, and space applications. This technology has additional applications with regards to wind turbine blades particularly in offshore locations which are susceptible to lightning strike.
An electrically conductive masterbatch is also commercially available and the Haydale team has been working with customers to test the capability achieving significant results over existing materials.
Keith Broadbent, CEO, Haydale, said: "We are pleased to have developed this much sought-after product and look forward to working with the aerospace industry to see it launched commercially. We have worked closely with design authorities/Airbus to ensure this product meets the needs and requirements of the industry."