WAZIPOINT Engineering Science & Technology: How Does A Simple Lightning Conductor Protect A Building?

Thursday, October 25, 2018

How Does A Simple Lightning Conductor Protect A Building?

How Does A Simple Lightning Conductor Protect A Building?

Lightning conductor or Lightning rod is a metal rod or wire that fixed to an uncovered part of a building roof or other tall structure to collect lightning destruction and divert harmlessly into the ground.

How lightning Stroked in a City Center ?
Fig-1: Lightning Stroked at tallest building in a city center

Lightning conductor or Lightning rod is the same thing, in UK people say Lightning conductor on the other hand US & AUS people call it Lightning rod.

So, the name lightning conductors recommends that it conducts the electric charge which come from cloud and hits on the building.

This simple equipment attract like magnetic action to lightning charges, harvest them and send to the ground through the wire connected with roof top lightning rod and buried metal plate at bottom.

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How Does Lightning Work?

Lightning rod or lightning conductor does not allow the electric charge to pass through the building material.

No any metal in the building touches the lightning rod or conductor connected between rod and buried earthing plate, it must be isolated form other material of structure.

The lightning rod and conducting wire must be made of a good conducting material, like- Copper, Aluminum etc.

The lightning conductor is extended till the ground where a plate of conducting material is placed underground. The connection with the ground sets the potential at zero and hence offers the easiest path for the charge to pass through.

The conductor is typically raised above the building in sufficient height that can absorb the shock before the lightning can strike the building.

Lightning rod height should be measure such that to cover the maximum protected area. Draw 45 degree straight line from top of the rod, the covered area by the straight line is the protected area from lightning strike.
How much area can protect a lightning conductor
Fig-2: Maximum area that a lightning rod can protect

As the lightning strikes the rod, it passes through rod and connected conducting wire into the ground that save the building structure from any damage due to the flow of such high charge.

To know more details and understand the Developing Thunderstorm and Lightning in Space read the different article.


Who Invented the Lightning Conductor First?

In the USA, credit is normally given to Benjamin Franklin, who write of them between 1749 and 1760. The odd thing about all this is that Franklin’s famous “kite string” experiment was supposed to have been carried out in 1782.

As per Popular Science Monthly/Volume 42/January 1893/The Inventor of the Lightning-Rod "Prokop Diviš was experimenting with similar ideas in the Czech area at around the 1740s, and there are reported devices in India and China from much earlier.


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