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Identification of lightning vulnerability points on complex grounded structures
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity. (Elektricitetslära)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity. (Elektricitetslära)
2007 (English)In: Journal of Electrostatics, ISSN 0304-3886, Vol. 65, no 9, 562-570 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The identification of the most vulnerable points on a given structure to be struck by lightning is an important issue on the design of a reliable lightning protection system. Traditionally, these lightning strike points are identified using the rolling sphere method, through an empirical correlation with the prospective peak return stroke current. However, field observations in Kuala Lumpur and Singapore have shown that the points where lightning flashes strike buildings also depend on the height and geometry of the structure. Since a lightning strike point is believed to be the place on a grounded structure where a propagating upward leader is first initiated, a physical leader inception model is used here to estimate the background electric field required to initiate a stable upward leader from the corners of some complex buildings. The computed location of the points from where leaders are incepted are compared with the damaged points on buildings struck by lightning. The observed lightning strike points coincide rather well with the corners of the buildings which are characterized by lower leader inception electric fields. Furthermore, it is found that the geometry of the buildings significantly influences the conditions necessary to initiate upward leaders and, therefore, the location of the most likely strike points.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 65, no 9, 562-570 p.
Keyword [en]
Lightning, Lightning protection, Lightning strike points, Air terminals, External lighting protection systems
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-97287DOI: 10.1016/j.elstat.2006.12.003ISI: 000248704500003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-97287DiVA: diva2:172153
Available from: 2008-05-14 Created: 2008-05-14 Last updated: 2011-01-27Bibliographically 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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