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Close Proximity Bypasses To ESE and CVM Air Terminals

Close Proximity Bypasses To ESE and CVM Air Terminals

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The growing number of bypasses very close to the ESE and CVM air terminals suggests that their claimed large protection zones are false and non-existent and that their placement on structures should be done in full compliance with the IEC62305 standard.
The growing number of bypasses very close to the ESE and CVM air terminals suggests that their claimed large protection zones are false and non-existent and that their placement on structures should be done in full compliance with the IEC62305 standard.

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Published by: Hartono Zainal Abidin on Nov 11, 2011
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11/21/2011

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Close Proximity Bypasses to Collection Volume andEarly Streamer Emission Air Terminals
Z. A. Hartono, I. Robiah
 Lightning Research Pte. Ltd., Malaysia
zahartono@ieee.orgrobiah@ieee.org
 Abstract 
 — Since their introduction more than two decades ago,the early streamer emission (ESE) air terminals have repeatedlyfailed to protect buildings from direct lightning strikes. Althoughthey claimed to provide a large protection zone, most of the ESEequipped tall buildings have exhibited one or more bypasses (i.e.lightning induced damages). After more than two decades of observation, a growing number of buildings have exhibitedbypasses that are in close proximity to the air terminals. Theseclose proximity bypasses provide indisputable evidence that theESE protection zone is just a figment of the ESE proponents’imagination.
I.
 
I
 NTRODUCTION
 The study of the early streamer emission (ESE) air terminals began in 1991 after a high rise commercial buildingwas struck and severely damaged by lightning in KualaLumpur, Malaysia. The building had been installed with anESE air terminal whose installation was made according to thecollection volume method (CVM) of air terminal placement.Photographs of the building, which were taken before andafter it had been struck by lightning, provided firm evidencethat the claims made for the CVM and ESE air terminals wereinvalid. Since then, bypass (i.e. lightning induced damages) photography became the key method of documenting the performance of the CVM and ESE air terminals.The first phase of the long term study highlighted themultiple bypasses on tall buildings that had been installedwith the ESE air terminals or applied with the CVM [1]. Mostof the bypasses had occurred at locations that are far from theair terminals. This study will highlight the growing number of observed bypasses that are located in close proximity to the air terminals on both low and high rise buildings i.e. well withintheir claimed protection zones.The close proximity bypasses supports earlier findings thatthe CVM and ESE air terminals are incapable of protectinglow as well as high rise buildings against lightning strikes [2],[3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12]. This suggeststhat their claimed protection zone is the same as theconventional air terminal and that their placement mustcomply with the rolling sphere method (RSM).II.
 
CVT/ESE
 
A
IR 
T
ERMINALS AND
S
TANDARDS
 The ESE air terminals refer to the proprietary lightning rodsinvented to replace the radioactive air terminals that were banned in the late 1980s.The CVM refers to an alternative air terminal positioningmethod that was intended to replace the RSM. Since the late1980s, it has been used by some ESE proponents as a methodfor positioning the collection volume terminals (CVT) i.e.ESE air terminals that are positioned according to the CVM.The proponents claimed that the CVT and ESE air terminalemit streamers earlier than conventional ones by a period of 
T whose value ranged between 50 to 100 microseconds.They also claimed that the emitted streamers have a constantvelocity (Vs) of 1x10
6
ms
-1
. Hence they claimed that a singleCVT/ESE air terminal can provide a protection zone whoseradius (
L) can be up to 100m where
L= 10
6
.
T.
Fig. 1 One of the ESE protection zones as described by its manufacturer.(Source: Helita 1999)
In the early 1990s, the ESE proponents had proposed thattheir air terminals be included in the InternationalElectrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the National FireProtection Association (NFPA) lightning protection standards.However, a study conducted by the International Conferenceon High Voltage Electric Systems (CIGRE) in 1995 reportedthat the value of Vs have neither been observed in nature nor supported by laboratory high voltage discharge studies. Thescientifically accepted value for Vs is at least one order of magnitude lower than that claimed by the ESE proponents andhence the protection zone, if any, is very much less than 10m.This finding led the IEC to reject the proposed CVT/ESEtechnologies from being included in their lightning protectionstandard. The finding also enabled the NFPA to reject asimilar standard which was submitted by CVT/ESE proponents. Since then, these proponents have not been ableto provide any new data to support their claimed streamer velocity.
7th Asia-Pacific International Conference on Lightning, November 1-4, 2011, Chengdu, China
978-1-4577-1466-5/11/$26.00 ©2011 IEEE 
863
 
 A.
 
CVM Standard 
The CVM was first included in the appendix of theAustralian lightning protection standard, AS1768, in 1991.Although it was clearly stated in the standard that the CVMwas for information only (i.e. it should not be applied in practice) the CVM proponents had used the standard to justifythe installation of the CVT. This gave the CVT an advantageover other ESE air terminals in the worldwide market.In 2002, the proponents conducted an “unprecedentedstudy” on the CVT installed buildings in Malaysia which wasthen submitted to Standards Australia during the AS1768revision. The study claimed that the CVM was effective basedon the high lightning event counter readings obtained and thelow observed bypasses from these installations.However, a review of the study revealed that most of thecounter readings were invalid due to the unreliable nature of the devices. The counter readings were found to be highlyerratic with zero readings recorded on many very tall buildings while some low buildings registered unusually highreadings. This suggests that the majority of the event counterswere not registering the correct number of lightning eventsand should not have been used for the study.The discovery of many metal clad buildings in the studyran contrary to an earlier claim made by the CVM proponentthat no such buildings had been included. Any bypass on themwould have been very small and undetectable from the ground.This suggests that the number of reported bypasses in thestudy is much smaller that it should be.The above inaccurate data suggests that the CVM is invalidas an air terminal positioning method and had not been field proven [13]. Consequently, the CVM was deleted from therevised Australian standard in 2003.
 B.
 
 ESE Standard 
In France, the ESE proponents published their ownstandard, the NFC 17-102, in 1995 in order to compete withthe growing market share of the CVT. The purpose of thestandard was to legalise the sales of their air terminals in thecountry because these devices did not comply with theEuropean lightning protection standard. The ESE standardwas also copied and published by ESE proponents in severalother countries to achieve the same objective.After the rejection of the proposed ESE standard by IECand NFPA, the French ESE standard was re-evaluated by aFrench scientific agency, INERIS, in 2001. Although theagency recommended some changes to the standard due to thedubious nature of its content, no action was taken by the ESE proponents.The ESE standard was finally annulled in 2009 due to itsnon-compliance with the IEC standard, IEC62305. However,the proponents have now claimed that the ESE standard is a“product standard” while the IEC standard is an “installationstandard”.III.
 
C
LOSE
P
ROXIMITY
B
YPASS
E
VENTS
 The following close proximity bypass events support thelong accepted view that the ESE air terminals are unsuitablefor the protection of low as well as high buildings. The physical installation of both ESE systems have been visuallyinspected by the authors and found to be satisfactory.
 A.
 
Sigolsheim Bell Tower 
The 30m tall 12
th
century bell tower situated in the town of Sigolsheim in eastern France was reportedly struck bylightning in 2009. This part of Western Europe has a very lowkeraunic level and the town has a very low annual thunder day(TD) of about 20.The lightning had struck and damaged a stone cross whichwas located about 6m horizontally away from a much taller ESE air terminal. An inspection conducted by the localauthority after the incident confirmed that the bell tower’slightning protection and grounding system had been properlymaintained [14].This incident clearly demonstrated the fact that the ESE air terminal is incapable of protecting an object (the stone cross)that is located well within its protection zone and mounted ona low rise building (<60m) in a low keraunic region (TD=20).
Fig. 2 The 30m bell tower which is the tallest structure in SigolsheimFig. 3 The missing stone cross and the damaged roof of the bell tower withthe ESE air terminal on the right (Photo: DNA News)Fig. 4 The repaired bell tower photographed a year later with a new stonecross installed
978-1-4577-1466-5/11/$26.00 ©2011 IEEE 
864
 
 B.
 
 Putrajaya Minaret 
The 116m high minaret, which is situated in the city of Putrajaya in Malaysia, is located in a very high keraunicregion (TD=200). This slim concrete structure can be seen asthe ultimate test case for verifying the existence of the claimedESE protection zone and installation method.The minaret was installed with an ESE air terminal at theapex before it was completed. Since the minaret has a veryslim design, all parts of the structure below the air terminal arelocated well inside the claimed ESE protection zone.The minaret had been struck by lightning many times sinceit was completed in 1998. The smaller bypasses on the tips of the concrete protrusions below the apex could be observedusing a binocular while the bigger ones are visible to thenaked eye. These bypasses clearly support the scientific viewthat the claimed streamer velocity is false and that the claimedESE protection zone is either very small or non-existent.
Fig. 5 The 116m high minaret in PutrajayaFig. 6 One of the bigger bypasses that occurred on the side of the minaret.Fig. 7 Two of the smaller bypasses on the minaret which could be easily seenwith a binocular 
IV.
 
A
 NALYSES
 The following describes the mechanism of the lightningstrike to the bell tower and minaret.
 A.
 
Sigolsheim Bell Tower 
According to the ESE standard, NFC 17-102, the stonecross and the bell tower cannot be struck by lightning sincethey are located within the protection zone of the ESE air terminal depicted by the arc X-Y in Fig. 8.
Fig. 8 Mechanism of lightning strike to the stone cross
However, according to the RSM, lightning can strike thestone cross if the imaginary sphere touches the cross only(circle A). If the sphere touches the cross and the air terminal,then lightning can strike either one of them (circle B). If thesphere touches the air terminal, then lightning can strike theair terminal only (circle C).Since the stone cross had been struck by lightning as predicted by the RSM, the protection zone mentioned in theESE standard is just imaginary and unsuitable for protectinglow buildings (i.e. <60m) against lightning strikes.XYABCStoneCrossESE air terminal
978-1-4577-1466-5/11/$26.00 ©2011 IEEE 
865

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