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Lightning Strike Analysis

Lightning strikes can cause high field and current values on structures.  FEKO is capable of simulating lightning strikes to help designers analyse the current and field effects of lightning strikes.  But what happens when the structures that are struck by lightning is moving, or when high currents cause heating effects which degrade structural integrity?  In such scenarios FEKO can be combined with multiphysics analysis tools to take into account all these effects.  The general principle at work is that electromagnetic effects are very fast, compared to heating effects or the movement of strike point due to platform movement.  The problem can thus be decomposed into an electromagnetic problem and a heating/strike point problem that is solved separately, each serving as input to the other.

The following table summarizes the simulation loop involved in simulating a lightning strike on an aircraft in flight.

FEKO analysis
Simulation loop
Multiphysics analsysis
Input:
  • Geometry of structure
  • Lightning strike point
  • Material properties

Output:
  • Current distribution over structure
  • Field values around structure
simloop.jpg Input:
  • Geometry of structure
  • Lightning strike point
  • Strike point changes
  • Material properties
  • Current distribution over structure

Output:
  • Heating and strength effects of current distribution
  • New material properties
  • New strike point

Krug et. al. [1] used this process to good effect in the analysis of the effect of lightning strikes on large wind turbines.

Krug_turbine.jpg

 

[1] F. Krug, R. Teichman, U. Jakobus, N. Berger, H. Steinbigler and J. Kindersberger, "Lightning Protection Optimization for Large Wind Turbines with Method-of-Moments"