Arizona State University

Lightning Effects

Advanced Helicopter Electromagnetics Laboratory | Comments

One of the problems of interest nowadays is the effects of lightning on aircraft. Some of these effects are melting of the aircraft skin, deformation due to pressure waves and magnetic forces, explosive vaporization of conductors, sparks in the fuel system which can cause explosion and damage in externally mounted composite materials.

Another serious issue is the electric and magnetic fields coupled to the interior of the aircraft. These can cause interference to the electronic equipment. This is of increased importance nowadays for two reasons: One is the high dependence of modern aircraft on sophisticated electronic circuits to perform flight critical operations. These circuits operate at low voltage and current levels which makes them more sensitive to electromagnetic interference. An other reason is that composite materials are used increasingly in modern aircraft, since they offer advantages in terms of mechanical strength and weight. However these materials are poor conductors of electricity and do not offer as much shielding as the traditional all metal structures.

In Figure 1 we see the surface current density on the Blackhawk helicopter, where a lightning current enters at the end of the front right rotor and exits from the right wheel.

[ Summary | Research Activities | Electromagnetic Computational Methods and Computer Codes | X-Window Interfaces | Composite Materials | Cosite Interference | Rotor Modulation | Ground Effects | Antenna Technology | HIRF | Conferences/Meetings | AHE Research Team ]

All rights reserved. All trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.