Why the Need for Lightning Strike Protection?
Composite materials are poor conductors. Lightning that stops the aircraft is deadly. That's why aircraft structures are "zoned" for relative conductivity... to ensure that lightning passes through the aircraft and continues to the ground. The best way to accomplish this process, at the least cost, is with lightweight, fantastically flexible MicroGrid... the conductive laminate of choice.
MicroGrid®... The Material of Choice
MicroGrid precision expanded metal foils from Dexmet are ideally suited materials for lightning strike protection in composite aircraft structures. In fact, Dexmet is the exclusive supplier for Boeing, principal supplier for Embraer and preferred vendor to many other aircraft manufacturers. MicroGrid's single unit structure is superior because it can't unravel like woven wire. Nor is costly material removed as in etching or stamping.
Why Aircraft Manufacturers Choose MicroGrid
MicroGrid's open area structure is tightly controlled trough exacting manufacturing processes. Its unitized microstructure can be designed for specific conductivity requirements at minimal cost. Thus, each "zone" uses only as much material (and added weight) vs. open area as necessary for its relative conductivity. The appropriate gauge and pattern of material is easily adhered to the composite for 200,000 amps of conductivity.Aircraft are easily repaired after lightning strike by simply sanding away the surface to apply a patch of new MicroGrid. And fantastically flexible MicroGrid easily conforms to a variety of shapes and contours in both manufacture and repair. It can be bent, shaped and laminated with a variety of materials, including those which expand, contract and flex.
How to Choose the Right MicroGrid
In the different product categories you will find charts of common processed materials for lightning strike protection in composite aircraft structures. Other alloys, metals, thicknesses and pattern structures are available. Please consult with our sales engineers for specific material characteristics in regard to your particular aircraft structure.