In 1983, due to industry requests, Astroseal Products Manufacturing Corporation began developing Astrostrike®. The initial product, CU 040, was selected for use on the Bell/Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt rotor aircraft. Since then nearly all composite aircraft make use of Astrostrike® for both shielding and lightning protection on large areas of the fuselage, wings, empennage, stabilizers, engine nacelles, propellers, winglets and the rotor blades. It was selected after comparison with seven alternative technologies for reasons of functionality and protection performance. Cost savings, however, proved to be a strong secondary benefit.
Astrostrike® Lightning Strike Protection (LSP) is produced from a solid foil and is perforated and processed to create outstanding formability and excellent adhesion to composite laminate structures. Since it begins as a solid foil, it can be produced from nearly pure metals for maximum electrical conductivity. In contrast most woven aluminum and copper (brass) must be alloyed in order for the metal to have enough strength to withstand the weaving operation. Alloys traditionally used by the aerospace industry typically have conductivity levels of approximately fifty percent (1/2) of the Astrostrike® base metals. Since both lightning and shielding protection are functions of conductivity, the high purity Astrostrike® screens result in the highest level of protection available. The high uniform electrical conductivity possessed by both the base metal and the finished mesh allows for the maximum current transfer possible (least amount of voltage drop) in current dissipation measurements even through overlap edge splices. The Astrostrike® products have shown the least amount of voltage arcing in both screen-to-screen and screen-to-metal connections than most all other products tested.
The standard product line for Astrostrike® LSP screening includes a variety of patterns and configurations in both copper and aluminum. Other materials such as titanium, stainless steel and polyimide films have also been processed for special applications. For any specific material, the weight or mass of Astrostrike® screening can be varied by changing the thickness of the original foil or by adjusting the amount of open area of the finished product. Foil thickness can range from 0.002" to 0.015". Open area can be varied between 10% to 85%, resulting in weight of finished product as low as 0.01 lbs./sq. ft. Products are normally supplied on continuous rolls in standard widths of 24” 31” or 36".