What should we know about the lightning protection?

What should we know about the lightning protection?
9 May, 2023

It is an undeniable fact that lightning protection is a necessity for any building, facility and open space where there are large crowds of people. It may seem exaggerated, but the truth is simple - lightning strikes the ground more than 350,000 times a year in Bulgaria alone. Between 20 and 50 people are struck by lightning each year in the country, and the resulting fires and damage to buildings with ineffective protection are numerous.

Earlier in the article, we shared with you how to assess risk and which buildings need protection. Today we will continue the topic by looking at the device and elements of protective installations.

What exactly is lightning protection?

This system is used to prevent or reduce lightning damage to buildings. They protect internal electrical components and help prevent fires or electric shocks.

It is completely wrong to think that the entire installation consists only of a lightning rod, which is a simple metal rod mounted on the building. In fact, it can be found in many different forms. What they have in common is that they are made of conductive materials such as copper and aluminum.

In lightning protection, this is one component of the entire system. It needs a connection to earth to be able to provide the electrical charge with a safe path to earth.

What are the elements of the system?

Lightning rods were discovered by Benjamin Franklin. In 1750, he undertook the difficult task of protecting property and people's lives against the greatest danger of that time - lightning. A year later, he recommended that every structure should have such protection.

Even then, he realized that the highest point of any facility was most vulnerable to a direct hit. This still forms the basis of many defense systems.

Today, modern technology has allowed us to perfect lightning protection installations and offer up to 99% efficiency.

Lightning interception

Thanks to Franklin, we know that the highest point is the most vulnerable. For this purpose, a lightning rod is installed on it to catch the shock and help to lead the energy to the ground.

For the effective construction of the system, the type of lightning rod and its location are of great importance. It can be a simple copper or aluminum rod, mast or mesh wire.

Conducting the current to Earth.

The elements required for this are wires that provide connection of the lightning rod to the grounding system. They usually follow the profile of the structure without being positioned where the safety of people can be compromised.

The conductors must provide multiple parallel paths down to conduct the lightning energy to ground. This reduces the risk of lateral migration of electricity.

Dissipation of current into the ground.

The reliable operation of lightning protection depends on the effectiveness of the grounding system. It must pay attention to the quality of materials and connections so that it can work for a long time without breaking down, reducing to a minimum the dangers of someone touching it and getting hurt.

Establishing an equipotential bond.

It is necessary for the system to equalize the potentials to eliminate the current voltage and thus reduce the possibility of electric shock or damage to the equipment.

It is important that every element of the installation works in sync to efficiently transfer the charge from capture to dissipation without posing a risk to people or the building.

This will conclude this article. We hope you learned something new and can judge for yourself why outdated systems may not provide you with the best lightning protection.

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