When an aircraft is struck by lightning, the results are often harrowing for its passengers and potentially destructive for the vehicle. Together with SAAB and Blackwing Sweden, 2D fab has developed new components for the aviation industry that offer increased lightning strike protection and strength.


Foto: 2D fab

The project, called Multigraph, was launched in 2017 with the mission to create better components for the aviation industry. The aim was to use graphene’s multifunctional properties to increase the mechanical strength and electrical conductivity of the materials used, the latter reducing the amount of maintenance required due to lightning strikes.

Enhanced strength by graphene comes with more durable materials and lighter weights – which lowers fuel consumption. What electrical conductivity does, among other things, is to redistribute the energy from the point of impact of a lightning strike, which decreases damage. Something that is especially important where the different segments attach to each other, for example where the wings connect to the airframe.

Aeronautics implementation a milestone for graphene use

Multigraph, partly financed by Vinnova, is a collaboration between 2D fab, SAAB, Blackwing Sweden, Chalmers and two Brazilian universities (UFABC and ITA). The results – presented October 10th at the Brazilian-Swedish workshop on aeronautics in Stockholm – are to be considered a success: by adding graphene to the polymers used, electrical conductivity and strength both improved. 2D fab’s CEO Sven Forsberg, is pleased with the results.

– This project shows that graphene works, and that there is huge potential for this material. It also brings graphene yet another step closer to the market.

2D fab and SAAB have been granted renewed funding from Vinnova and will continue working toward better components for the aviation industry.