Lightning Master Corporation has an extensive team and years of experience researching and developing lightning protection and static solutions. The results of this expertise can be found in our products, the facilities we protect and the information detailed in these white papers. If we can answer any questions about the technology and our findings, or for sales inquiries or interview requests, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In today’s world, we use microprocessor-based equipment to help make our operations faster and more efficient. It is difficult to find a toaster, let alone a sophisticated control system, that is not microprocessor based. This technology has revolutionized the way the world does business, allowing us to handle information at an ever-accelerating rate.
Streamer Delaying Technology
Lightning Master® brand Streamer Delaying structural lightning protection technology is essentially an outgrowth of, and an improvement upon, conventional lightning protection technology. It employs the basic conventional system with modified air terminals which are designed to reduce the incidence of direct strikes to the protected structure. All of the components used in this type of system are UL Listed, and the system is designed to meet UL 96A and NFPA 780. As such, the completed system is eligible for a UL Master Label or Letter of Findings.
Lightning Protection: A Three Pronged Attack
Based upon our experience, we have developed an integrated systems-approach to environment optimization which may be tailored to any type of facility or operation. The Lightning Master® approach consists of three steps:
- Bonding and Grounding
- Transient Voltage Surge Suppression
- Structural Lightning Protection
An understanding of streamer influencing technology opens the door to many possibilities, including hybrid systems. Several years ago, Lightning Master® was asked to design a lightning protection system for the new Advanced Launch System (ALS) at Cape Canaveral. There were several design constraints which made the use of a conventional system or a static dissipating system impractical. One of the options we suggested was a perimeter of early streamer emitting air terminals surrounding the complex to lower the overall ground charge making it onto the site by triggering strikes to the perimeter protection. This was to be complemented by a matrix of Lightning Master® Streamer Delaying air terminals inside the perimeter to retard the lightning process in the protected site area itself.
Early streamer emitting air terminals are designed to emit a streamer early in the streamer formation phase of a lightning strike, thereby becoming the preferred lightning attachment point.
As the ground charge builds immediately before the lightning strike, the ESE air terminal accumulates ground charge. In the instant before the strike, when the stepped leaders are branching down from the cloud, the ESE terminal emits a series of pulses of ground charge, forming a streamer from itself before streamers emit from other structures. In theory, its streamer reaches the stepped leaders before competing streamers, thereby winning the competition.
There are four basic types of lightning damage: physical damage, secondary effect damage, electromagnetic effect damage, and damage caused by changes in ground reference potential.
Physical damage is caused by current flow and heat. A typical lightning strike in the United States conveys between 25,000 and 45,000 amps, with the higher amperage strikes occurring in the south, where the storms build higher. Lightning is high current flowing over a short period of time.
The Lightning Phenomenon
As an electrical storm builds, various mechanisms create a stratified charge within the storm cloud, with an electrical charge at the base of the cloud. Since we are mostly concerned with cloud-to-ground lightning, we are concerned primarily with the charge on the base on the storm, as that charge induces a “shadow” of opposite charge on the surface of the earth beneath it.
Lightning Strike Completion Mechanism
Various mechanisms create a stratified charge in a storm cloud. The charge on the base of the cloud induces an opposite charge on the surface of the earth beneath it. (Remember playing with magnets as a kid? Like charges repel and opposite charges attract.) As the storm cloud builds, it increases the potential difference between the cloud base charge and the ground charge, with the cloud base charge trying to pull the ground charge off the surface of the earth.