This article was posted 01/14/2010 and is most likely outdated.

Lightning Air Terminals - An Overview


Subject - Lightning Air Terminals - An Overview

January 14, 2010
This newsletter was sent to 19243 newsletter subscribers

Ask a Question |  Weekly Code GraphicQuizzes |  Free Stuff InstructorsOnline Training Products | Seminars | SubscribeUnsubscribe
[ image1 Post Comments | View Comments | Notify Me When Comments Are Added ] Web Page Version [Printer-Friendly]    

Conventional and Un-conventional Lightning Air Terminals: An Overview

Like many electrical products in the market, a Lightning Protection System (LPS) is required to comply with the technical standards set by the IEC or by the respective national standards body (e.g. SIRIM). When such a system complies with the recommendations set in the standard, it is known as a standard LPS. The sale and use of the LPS is legal since it complies with national and/or international standards and has been scientifically proven to provide safety to users.

A paper was written by Hartono and Robiah which reviews the development of the current un-conventional lightning protection air terminals (ATs) and their evaluation based on theory, laboratory and field studies.

The paper reports that un-conventional ATs have been around since the invention of the lightning rod by Benjamin Franklin in the 18th century. However they had never been proven theoretically and practically by their proponents. The current un-conventional ATs, such as the lightning eliminators, the radioactive lightning rods and the early streamer devices, were introduced since the 1970s and they too had never been proven. Although they do not comply with the then and existing lightning protection standards, they were used on many projects in Malaysia and around the world.

This paper describes the principles behind the different methods of lightning protection, and explores the consequences of using non-standard LPS. The paper also discusses the standards proposed for un-conventional ATs over the last decade, and takes a look at the developments in Malaysia in terms of standards implementation and LPS studies conducted by a local university. 
Read the entire paper: Conventional and Un-conventional Lightning Air Terminals: An Overview
(Note: the article is 39 pages, 1.88 MG, and may take a few minutes to download, depending on your internet speed).

Hartono Zainal Abidin, BSc (Elect), MIEEE
Robiah Ibrahim, BSc (Elect), MIEEE
Hilton Petaling Jaya, 8th January 2004

Click here to post a comment
[ View More Newsletters ] [ Send to a Friend ] [ Post Comments | View Comments | Notify Me When Comments Are Added ]

Copyright © Mike Holt Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
This article is protected by United States copyright and other intellectual property laws and may not be
displayed or published on the internet without the prior written permission of Mike Holt Enterprises, Inc.     1-888-NEC-CODE (1-888-632-2633)

Experiencing a Problem? Click Here

  • Mike, thank you for following up on my comment to an earlier newsletter on this topic.

    If I understand correctly, the "Franklin" lightning rod is a simple vertical rod, placed at roof corners as well as frequent intervalls along the ridge of a building.

    Again, if I understand correctly, these other systems rely upon a single rod of some sort, mounted substantially higher than the building. It is claimed that these fancy, expensive rods protect an 'area' because of their height - thus the installation is cheaper since there is only one rod, rather than the dozens that might be required in a conventional layout.

    Looking at the supplied pictures, it appears that lightning has an affinity for sharp corners of buildings, rather than the center of the roof. Perhaos this is why the designers of the 'magic rods' so strongly favor fiercely spiked and pointed designs.

    Personally, I am impressed at the buildings that seem to have suffered multiple strikes with so little damage. Losing a few bricks is pretty minor when a lightning bolt so often will split a huge tree into fragments, then set those fragments ablaze.

    Reply to this comment

  • Interesting. I also have a story. Most of you are probably familiar with an NFPA publication called ‘NEC Plus’ that discusses NEC related issues and also provides short notes on new products, usually with a link to the manufacturer’s web page for more information. Last summer there was one such item, headlined ‘Charge Dissipation Terminals provide lightning protection’ that caught my eye and I asked the NFPA whether it had changed its position on that technology given that NFPA 780 says:

    “1.1.3 This document shall not cover lightning protection system installation requirements for early streamer emission systems or charge dissipation systems.”

    and about 8 or 10 years ago, after a great deal of heated debate, had decided not to include requirements for these products into that standard or even a separate one. NFPA’s response was that publishing such items in an NFPA publication did not constitute an endorsement of those products, and said that in the future a note to that effect would be included in the publication. I tried to argue that calling attention in an NFPA publication to a product that had no chance of being certified goes considerably further than not endorsing it, but they stuck to their guns and said that the disclaimer was all that was needed. Thought I’d share this with my colleagues in the electrical industry.

    Heinz R.
    Reply to this comment

Get notified when new comments are posted here
* Your Email:
Add Your Comments to this Newsletter
* Your Name:
   Your name will appear under your comments.

* Your Email:
   Your email address is not displayed.
* Comments:

Email Notification Options:
Notify me when a reply is posted to this comment
Notify me whenever a comment is posted to this newsletter