The Morgan-Botti Lightning Laboratory is opened at Wales' Cardiff University

14 October 2011


A new lightning laboratory co-named after EADS Chief Technical Officer Jean Botti was formally opened this week at Cardiff University in Wales, readying this facility for leading-edge research that will contribute to further enhancing aviation safety.

Located at Cardiff University’s School of Engineering, the laboratory will study lightning strikes on aircraft – with one of its emphases on providing a better understanding of how composites are affected by such phenomena, and optimising the materials’ electrical properties for protection. 

Sharing the UK facility’s naming honours with EADS’ Botti is Rhodri Morgan, the former First Minister of Wales. Both men were instrumental in the laboratory’s establishment.

“A better understanding of lightning strikes on civil aircraft is an exercise in the obvious, because human lives are at stake,” Botti said at the facility’s opening ceremony. “I challenge the engineering teams to think without limit in your research and to make it with a purpose. Each of you associated with this lab carries the future possibility of making civil aviation safer.”
 

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At the lightning laboratory’s official opening this week, EADS Chief Technical Officer Jean Botti (at left) is joined by Rhodri Morgan, the former First Minister of Wales, as well as the country’s current First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM.







At the lightning laboratory’s official opening this week, EADS Chief Technical Officer Jean Botti (at left) is joined by Rhodri Morgan, the former First Minister of Wales, as well as the country’s current First Minister, Carwyn Jones AM.


Botti added that by combining expertise from the Cardiff School of Engineering’s High Voltage Energy Systems research group with EADS Innovation Works’ practical knowledge in aviation-related lighting effects, the laboratory will offer the resources as a highly capable research centre.

While lightning laboratories have long existed, they are often used in the aviation sector for testing and certification purposes – making basic research a secondary priority. The goal of EADS Innovation Works is to develop a world-leading research group through its collaboration with Cardiff University; to start this development, EADS is sponsoring a PhD student in association with the facility.

A new generator at the Morgan-Botti Lightning Laboratory initially will use three 197.5µF capacitors, subsequently expanding to 10 capacitors – providing an available energy of 95 kJ for the D waveform, and 380 kJ for the A waveform.
 

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Research into the effects of lightning strikes on aircraft composite materials and structures will be a main goal of the Morgan-Botti Lightning Laboratory.



Research into the effects of lightning strikes on aircraft composite materials and structures will be a main goal of the Morgan-Botti Lightning Laboratory.


One of the laboratory’s first test projects will be performed for Airbus, evaluating the effects of lightning on hyperjoint fastening technology developed by EADS Innovation Works. This technology uses miniature metallic pins produced using the Additive Layer Manufacturing (ALM) process, which are employed in the fastening of composites with metallics.

The Morgan-Botti Lightning Laboratory was created with approximately £1.6 million in joint funding by the Welsh Government and EADS Innovation Works. Botti noted that EADS’ agreement with the Welsh government allows the Cardiff facility to be available for other potential users in the country – opening additional new research opportunities with highly advanced equipment.