Sikorsky selects UltraConductive technology for S-97
Sept. 17, 2014, Cary, N.C. - LORD Corporation has announced that Sikorsky Aircraft Corp. has selected its UltraConductive films and coatings for lightning strike protection for the S-97 RAIDER program.
By Carey Fredericks
The Sikorsky program requires LORD to provide technical support and education on how to use UltraConductive solutions across the Sikorsky platform for direct lightning strike protection, grounding of fasteners, and manufacturability.
At 35 to 55 per cent the weight of expanded copper foil solutions, LORD UltraConductive materials offer equivalent lightning protection for composite structures. The highly-conductive epoxy film or coating utilizes non-nano, commercial materials to protect composite aircraft structures from a direct lightning strike. The surfacing film also is used to provide Zone 2A lightning strike protection on aircraft. It can be hand-applied or automated, using conventional tape-layup machines or automotive-grade paint robots.
In 2013, Sikorsky and LORD put UltraConductive film through a range of strike test configurations and secondary properties testing. Now in 2014, Sikorsky suppliers have already begun building first hardware for the RAIDER, including the propeller and fairing, using LORD UltraConductive film.
“Application of UltraConductive film is as simple as mixing two components and spraying using standard HVLP equipment,” said Bill Gianetti of Swift Engineering, the firm that applies UltraConductive to the top of the upper fairing. “The coating builds evenly and with a pre-cure is ready for composite prepreg application. Following full composite cure, the coating is an integral part of the structure with none of the print-through effects often found with wire mesh.”
An additional OEM has UltraConductive film on aircraft in flight and several more OEMs will fly it before 2015, according to Justin Bryan, Business Development Manager for LORD Corporation.
The S-97 RAIDER program involves the design of two next-generation helicopter prototypes for evaluation by the U.S. military.
“This is an innovative helicopter and an innovative team,” said Bill Cerami, president, Aerospace & Defense, LORD Corporation. “It is a great honour to now bring our UltraConductive technology to the program.”