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3 Effects of Lightning Damage

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Do you worry about how lightning damage can affect your facility or property?  Is your facility located in an area where there are frequent, severe thunderstorms?  Lightning strikes can occur anywhere.  When lightning strikes buildings and structures, it can cause extensive damage, such as:

  • Fire
  • Power surges
  • Roof damage
  • Damage electronic
  • Shock wave
  • Burst pipes or leaks
  • Tree damage
  • Injury burns and even death

Types of lightning damage

Physical damage is caused by current flow and heat. Lightning is high current flowing over a short period of time. During a strike, the heat due to high temperature causes the sap in a tree struck by lightning to turn to steam and expand, splitting the tree. When a concrete structure is struck, the latent moisture turns to steam, expanding and damaging the concrete structure. When the air surrounding the lightning channel is heated this rapidly, it expands in a shock wave, causing damage to surrounding areas.

The secondary effect of a lightning strike can cause arcing and induced currents. Lightning strikes always have indirect or secondary effects, which can cause varying degrees of damage. The point where lightning strikes will remain highly charged, the ground charge rushes toward that point after the initial strike, which can lead to arcing and induced currents in any equipment or structures. This arcing could be a potential risk or hazard for structures or tanks containing flammable material or vapour.

The electromagnetic field effect is similar to nuclear blast EMP, and can induce currents in nearby wires or other conductors. The current induced by electromagnetic effect can easily be sufficient to cause damage. In fact, microprocessors, telephone systems can be damaged by a nearby strike even if they are not in use or even connected to a power source. The electromagnetic pulse from the strike induced current into the telephone wiring, both into and within the building, damaging a microprocessor within the system and causing a system failure. Ground reference potential changes across a site, it can cause current flow through grounding systems. Lightning damage occurs when current flows due to the difference in potential at two different locations. The difference in potential at the two locations can damage your electrical systems.

You’ll also need a well-designed grounding system and bonding between wires to properly protect your facility from further lightning damage.

It is important to remember that there is no safe space outside from lightning — the only secure location is an enclosed building or in a vehicle protected with a lightning protection system.

Contact LEC for a design tailored to your facility requirements.



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