In this work, the influence of lightning-strike-induced electric current and surface heat flux on the thermal response and thermal ablation of a carbon fiber polymer matrix composite laminated panel is studied. A coupled electric-thermal model for an anisotropic plate exposed to the lightning-strike-induced electric current and surface heat flux is formulated. Temperature-dependent material properties of the carbon fiber polymer matrix composites, including electrical conductivity, thermal conductivity, and specific heat, are used. A coupled electric-thermal finite element analysis (FEA) is conducted using a MATLAB-ABAQUS integrated numerical procedure, which enables progressive element deletion to accurately model the lightning-strike-induced continuous surface recession (thermal ablation) in the composite panel. The obtained thermal response and thermal ablation using the proposed numerical procedure are compared with those obtained using existing solution procedures without progressive element deletion.

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