Identification of Lightning Strike Damage Severity Using Pulse Thermography through Integration of Thermal Data

Tim M. Harrell, J. M. Dulieu-Barton, O. T. Thomsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carbon fibre reinforced polymers (CFRP) structures, e.g., wind turbine blades, are suspectable to direct lightning strikes due to their semiconductive nature and ability to conduct current. It is critical to identify and evaluate lightning damage as it can cause premature failure of the primary load carrying components. Direct strike lightning damage has been traditionally identified and assessed by ultrasonic (UT) inspection, which is time consuming, usually requires contact, and does not directly provide a measure of damage severity. An appealing alternative to UT is pulsed thermography (PT), which takes minutes to conduct rather than hours and does not require a couplant. The aim of this work is to explore the application of pulse thermography to identify and evaluate the damage state of CFRP panels damaged by simulated lightning strike. A new analysis technique is presented that provides a damage severity metric which allows damage to be categorized, separated, and quantified.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalExperimental Techniques
Early online date21 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 May 2024


  • CFRP composite materials
  • Direct lightning strike damage
  • Non-destructive evaluation (NDE)
  • Pulse thermography
  • Thermography integration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering

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