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Time dependent evaluation of the lightning upward connecting leader inception
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Division for Electricity and Lightning Research.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Division for Electricity and Lightning Research.
2006 (English)In: Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics, ISSN 0022-3727, E-ISSN 1361-6463, Vol. 39, no 21, 4695-4702 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The evaluation of the upward connecting leader inception from a grounded structure has generally been performed neglecting the effect of the propagation of the downward stepped leader. Nevertheless, field observations suggest that the space charge produced by streamer corona and aborted upward leaders during the approach of the downward lightning leader can influence significantly the initiation of stable upward positive leaders. Thus, a physical leader inception model is developed, which takes into account the electric field variations produced by the descending leader during the process of inception. Also, it accounts for the shielding effect produced by streamer corona and unstable leaders formed before the stable leader inception takes place. The model is validated by comparing its predictions with the results obtained in long gap experiments and in an altitude triggered lightning experiment. The model is then used to estimate the leader inception conditions for free standing rods as a function of tip radius and height. It is found that the rod radius slightly affects the height of the downward leader tip necessary to initiate upward leaders. Only an improvement of about 10% on the lightning attractiveness can be reached by using lightning rods with an optimum radius. Based on the obtained results, the field observations of competing lightning rods are explained. Furthermore, the influence of the average stepped leader velocity on the inception of positive upward leaders is evaluated. The results obtained show that the rate of change of the background electric field produced by a downward leader descent largely influences the conditions necessary for upward leader initiation. Estimations of the leader inception conditions for the upper and lower limit of the measured values of the average downward lightning leader velocity differ by more than 80%. In addition, the striking distances calculated taking into account the temporal change of the background field are significantly larger than the ones obtained assuming a static downward leader field. The estimations of the present model are also compared with the existing leader inception models and discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 39, no 21, 4695-4702 p.
National Category
Physical Sciences Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-97282DOI: 10.1088/0022-3727/39/21/029ISI: 000242476000031OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-97282DiVA: diva2:172148
Available from: 2008-05-14 Created: 2008-05-14 Last updated: 2016-06-22Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. On the Attachment of Lightning Flashes to Grounded Structures
Open this publication in new window or tab >>On the Attachment of Lightning Flashes to Grounded Structures
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis deals with the physical modeling of the initiation and propagation of upward positive leader discharges from grounded structures during lightning strikes. It includes the analysis of upward leaders initiated under the influence of the electric field produced by a dominant negative cloud charge and due to the combined action of a negative thundercloud and a descending downward stepped negative leader. Thus, a self-consistent model based on the physics of leader discharges is developed for the evaluation of the attachment of lightning flashes to any kind of grounded structure. The predictions of the model have been found to be in good agreement with the results of laboratory long air gap experiments and with classical and altitude rocket triggered lightning experiments.

Due to the high application level and predictive power of the developed model, several contributions to the physical understanding of factors influencing the initiation and propagation of upward positive leaders during thunderstorms have been made. For instance, it has been found that the initiation of upward connecting leaders is strongly affected by the average velocity of the downward stepped leader. Similarly, it is shown that the switching voltage impulses used in the laboratory do not “fairly approximate” the electric fields produced by a descending downward leader, as claimed by supporters of Early Streamer Emission (ESE) devices. Furthermore, it is found that the space charge layer created by corona at ground level significantly increases the thundercloud electric fields required to initiate upward lightning leaders from tall objects. On the other hand, it is also shown that the upward leader velocity depends on the downward leader average velocity, the prospective return stroke current, the lateral distance of the downward leader channel and the ambient electric field.

By implementing the model to the analysis of complex structures, it has been observed that the corners of actual buildings struck by lightning coincide rather well with the places characterized by low leader inception electric fields. Besides, it has been found that the leader inception zones of the corners of complex structures do not define symmetrical and circular regions as it is generally assumed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2008. 85 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 438
Keyword
Engineering physics, Lightning, Lightning attachment, Positive leader discharges, Lightning protection, Thunderstorms, Numerical modeling, Teknisk fysik
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8871 (URN)978-91-554-7216-0 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-06-05, Häggsalen, Ångströmlaboratoriet, Lägerhyddsvägen 1, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-05-14 Created: 2008-05-14 Last updated: 2010-04-23Bibliographically approved

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Becerra, MarleyCooray, Vernon

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