Close Proximity Bypasses to Collection Volume andEarly Streamer Emission Air Terminals
Z. A. Hartono, I. Robiah
Lightning Research Pte. Ltd., Malaysia
— 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.
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 . 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 ,, , , , , , , , , . 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.
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
. Hence they claimed that a singleCVT/ESE air terminal can provide a protection zone whoseradius (
L) can be up to 100m where
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
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