Physics students at Cardiff University in Wales, UK are investigating methods to measure paint thickness on metal and composite parts. Paint thickness measurements can be a difficult task but one that is necessary to maintain lightning protection. Thick coatings of paint will cause lightning to stay in a particular location longer than thinner coatings. The longer lightning is focused in one area, the more damage it will do. Lightning engineers put restrictions on the thicknesses of aircraft coatings to make sure that lightning does not create significant damage. However, it is often difficult to measure coatings in field since the current paint thickness equipment is relatively expensive and requires a qualified operator. If the students at Cardiff can create a simple thickness measurement device, it will help the industry immensely.
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