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post #14 of Old 03-24-2003
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Lightning Anyone?

I spent the better part of a year studying static electricity and lightning strikes related to protecting metal buildings and steel towers, back in the mid-80''s, so the memory''s fading a bit--but there were a few things that stick in my mind. Firstly the the flukey and erratic, unpredictable nature of a strike: it does not always strike the highest point. It strikes the most charged point. It needs a "leader" from the object up into the charged atmosphere for the discharge to occur: sometimes in a video you see this, a faint leader reaching upwards before the strike downwards. the leader comes from an electrostatic charge or a source. Remove or reduce these and the strike chances are less. I remember at the time that I was doing all this industrial building protection there was a belief that if you ground out something too well, and put up too many lightning rods on a building, you may end up attracting lightning instead of reducing it. That went resolved. Glad no one got hurt. Wish there was a guaranteed recipe for protection. Does anyone try battery jumper cables overboard and clipped to the shrouds? If so, are they alive to tell the tale?
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