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Effect of lightning strikes on Carbon Fibre (video and photos)

If you know a Boeing engineer, please pass this on. On average, every single airliner is hit by lightning once a year. Modern, metal planes are built to carry on perfectly safely even if they are struck but the very latest airliners are now being made of carbon fibre, which can be very badly damaged by lightning. So how are aeroplane designers making them safe to fly? BBC Transport Correspondent Richard Westcott was given exclusive access to the Airbus "Lightning Lab" based at Cardiff… ( More...

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Grahame Budd 4
There is a difference between graphite (pencil lead), carbon fibre (as used in fishing poles etc), and carbon fibre composites. The materials used in aerospace are composites and they are very much less conductive than conventional aircraft alloys. This means that they can generate much more heat for a given strike. They also suffer more structural changes which can weaken them. I was glad to see that Boeing and Airbus designs seemed to acknowledge this and it worries me to see it removed.
sharon bias 0
Sure would have liked Boeing and Airbus to address this problem BEFORE they put their planes into service. Another reason I don't get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I fly. Yes, the fiber is used in race cars and yachts. But the public doesn't ride in race cars, and one can usually leave damaged yachts if necessary.
Grahame Budd 4
Sure. I was making the point that lightning on a fishing pole is about a different material. And in fact, the both Airbus and Boeing did address the issue when the planes were designed, in particular the end cap insulators which prevent conduction into the wing space. Boeing then removing these and other measures is the concern. I really hope they know what they are doing.
96flstc 4
AA mechanics refer to the 787 as a "lightning magnet"
Do they get hit more often?
David Reed 1
My guess is probably not but that mechanics now able to see the evidence and/or asked to check for it where applicable.
Mike Mohle 2
That warm and fuzzy feeling would be the electrons running through you during your next flight when lighting strikes........ LOL
matt jensen 3
We've been aware of carbon fibre or graphite for almost 35 yrs now. While it's lightweight and strong, it also conducts electricity at far higher rates than other materiels including aluminum, titanium, glass fibre and bamboo. The latter two - fishing rods - now replaced nearly totally by graphite. I know of two people who have been horribly injured just carrying a graphite fly rod near a stream. In addition to aircraft, carbon fibre is also used in auto race cares (F1) and yachts.
Far lower rates, I think you meant to say.
hal pushpak 1
Why is this news? Is there a single commercial airliner which does't have a layer of conductive mesh within its composite layers? (With the exception of radomes of course -- and they have ribs.)
hal pushpak 1
"does't" = "doesn't"
Chris B 1
yes 787
hal pushpak 3
Well, holy sh**. I stand corrected!
WTF is Boeing thinking (er, smoking)?
Chris B 2
More profit?


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