Lightweight Multifunctional Structural Composite With Integrated Electromagnetic Shielding
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The ability to construct a multifunctional material that provides electromagnetic (EM) hardening on an aircraft structure integral to the material form has been demonstrated. The material's key attribute is the integration of a high level of EM shielding directly into a structural, fiber-reinforced graphite composite in a manner that has minimal-to-no impact on the mechanical characteristics of the host composite. The material form has demonstrated the EM shielding equivalency of an aluminum electronics enclosure structure on a composite alternative for 25% of the weight without impacting structural characteristics. This material form provides a lightweight alternative to traditional means of providing aircraft EM protection from existing and emerging threats, such as high-power microwaves and EM pulse (EMP)/high-altitude EMP, without incurring parasitic weight penalties. Its multifunctionality provides a weight-efficient means to address EM shielding in a composite while taking advantage of its strength-to-weight properties.