Modelling and analysis of simulated lightning strike tests: A review

S.L.J. Millen*, Adrian Murphy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
126 Downloads (Pure)


Aircraft are increasingly being made of electrically resistive composites, rather than conductive metals. Therefore, it is important to analyse the damage caused by a lightning strike. Given the benefits of simulations over experimental analysis in terms of cost and specialist test infrastructure required, simulations have become increasingly important in the analysis of lightning strike damage. Preceding review articles have focused on lightning strike protection of composites and an initial review of the physics, problem formulations, and numerical approaches for multiphysics analyses for simulating lightning strikes. However, none have systematically critiqued and contrasted the lightning strike simulations used in literature to date. Therefore, this review paper focusses on the modelling and simulation approaches within literature, paying particular attention to their material properties, construction, loading strategies, meshing approaches, solutions and results. The current and proposed lightning strike modelling approaches are discussed along with their current limitations and future challenges.
Original languageEnglish
Article number114347
JournalComposite Structures
Early online date14 Jul 2021
Publication statusEarly online date - 14 Jul 2021


  • Lightning strike
  • Finite element analysis (FEA)
  • Composite damage
  • Thermal-electric modelling
  • MagnetoHydroDynamics
  • Strain rate effects
  • Heating rate effects
  • Aerospace Materials
  • Thermal Plasma
  • Simulation coupling
  • Mesh generation
  • CFRP


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