Lightning strike thermal damage model for glass fiber reinforced polymer matrix composites and its application to wind turbine blades

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99 Scopus citations


A physics-based model describing the thermal interaction between a lightning channel and a composite structure has been developed. The model includes: (i) spatial and temporal evolution of the lightning channel as a function of the electric current waveform; (ii) temporary and spatially non-uniform heat flux generated at the composite structure, where the heat flux is an explicit function of the electric current waveform and the instant lightning channel radius; (iii) nonlinear transient heat transfer problem formulation for layered anisotropic composites that accounts for temperature-dependent material properties, a moving boundary of the expanding lightning channel, and phase transition moving boundary associated with instantaneous material removal due to sublimation. The model is applied for evaluation of thermal damage of the tip glass fiber reinforced polymer matrix composite panel of the Sandia 100-meter All-glass Baseline Wind Turbine Blade (SNL 100-00) subjected to lightning strike.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1182-1191
Number of pages10
JournalComposite Structures
StatePublished - Nov 5 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Glass fiber reinforced polymer matrix composite
  • Lightning strike
  • Thermal damage
  • Wind turbine blade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Civil and Structural Engineering

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