When lightning strikes a metallic aircraft, the current dissipates harmlessly across the entire structure. However, composite materials are insulators so the thousands of metallic fasteners that secure those airframes must also serve as a conduit to dissipate lightning currents. Unfortunately, lightning creates tiny arcs between traditional fasteners and composite structures, which could cause serious damage to a composite structure.
Working with our customers, Arconic engineers delivered the solution – an innovative fastening system called Flite-Tite®. This is our revolutionary, electromagnetic-management fastener that protects against lightning strikes. Flite-Tite fasteners are designed with a titanium or steel sleeve that prevents gaps between a composite airframe, enabling an electrical current to discharge from the aircraft without detrimental effects. Flite-Tites hold composite airframe sections together tightly and securely – so lightning, which hits an airplane on average once a year, is far less of a threat.
As with many of our innovations, we worked with the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers to provide the breakthrough they needed. It’s just one more way Arconic is advancing the skies.