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IPASJ International Journal of Electrical Engineering (IIJEE)

A Publisher for Research Motivation........

Volume 4, Issue 2, February 2016

Web Site: http://www.ipasj.org/IIJEE/IIJEE.htm


Email: editoriijee@ipasj.org
ISSN 2321-600X

Introduction to Protection of Building from


Lightning Strokes
Seema P. Navghare1 , Richard N. Anthony2
1, 2
Student M.E. (Electrical Power System),
P.E.S College of Engineering, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, India

ABSTRACT
This research includes the basic introduction to the protection of building from lightning strokes. This paper
focuses on the protection of building and all equipments from damages caused due to lightning and also the human
life occupying the buildings. This paper also covers the various components associated with the protection from
lightning.
Keywords: Protection of building, basic components of lightning protection system, working of lightning protection
system.

1. INTRODUCTION
Lightning is a natural phenomenon with sudden discharge of high voltage electricity towards the earth. As it is a
natural phenomenon, we cant prevent the lightning stroke but we can avoid the stroke by installing a lightning
protection system. When lightning strikes a building, it needs a path to the ground and if the building is not protected it
finds a path available in the building as such electrical conductors and cable lines. The electrical conductors and cable
lines are connected to various electrical appliances. When the lightning passes through these conductors, it can damage
electrical appliances which may result in fire and damage to the building. This may also result in the loss of human
life. Hence by installing the lightning protection system at a building we can reduce the damages by guiding the
lightning stroke to ground by a separate path, causing no harm to the building [1]. This separate path provides low
resistance to the lightning stroke hence any other possible path is eliminated, for its discharge to the ground. The
damage to the non-conducting parts of a building such as wood, brick, concrete, etc is also safeguarded, by installing
the lightning protection system on a building [2]. Hence lightning protection system is a necessity to prevent any
damages to the building and human life.

2. BASIC COMPONENTS OF LIGHTNING PROTECTION SYSTEM


The basic components of a lightning protection system include lightning rods or air terminals, conductor cables and
ground rods. These system components provide a separate path to the lightning stroke striking the building. A brief
discussion is as follows on the basic components of a lightning protection system with the corresponding figures.
2.1. LIGHTNING RODS OR AIR TERMINALS
The fig.1 below shows the lightning rod or air terminal used in the lightning protection system.

Fig.1 Lightning rods or Air terminals

Volume 4, Issue 2, February 2016

Page 12

IPASJ International Journal of Electrical Engineering (IIJEE)


A Publisher for Research Motivation........

Volume 4, Issue 2, February 2016

Web Site: http://www.ipasj.org/IIJEE/IIJEE.htm


Email: editoriijee@ipasj.org
ISSN 2321-600X

This forms the initial point of contact for the lightning stroke striking the building. The lightning rods are placed
vertically above the building which is to be protected. These rods capture the lightning stroke and feed it to the
conductor cable. These are metal rods usually made of aluminium or copper [3]. Due to the presence of the lightning
rod, the lightning stroke does not strike the buildings directly and are safely passed to the conductor cable through the
lightning rods. The lightning rods or air terminals are available in various shapes and sizes.
2.2. CONDUCTOR CABLES
The fig.2 below shows the conductor cable used in the lightning protection system.

Fig.2 Conductor cable


This is a heavily twisted cable made up of aluminium or copper which is connected to the lightning rod or air terminal.
The cable carries high lightning current from the lightning rods to the ground. The cable runs along the roof top and
through the edges of the building at various points and is routed towards the ground [3]. Cables made of copper are
mainly used due to its high current carrying capacity [1]. The conductor cables provides the low resistance path to the
lightning stroke and safely directs the stroke to the ground.
2.3. GROUND RODS
The fig.3 below shows the ground rod used in the lightning protection system.

Fig.3 Ground rod


Ground rods are usually made up of an alloy of copper and steel which is corrosion resistant. The ground rod is
connected to the conductor cables and is buried deep inside the earth surface around the building to be protected [3].
This arrangement provides a safe path for a lightning stroke discharge into the ground.

Volume 4, Issue 2, February 2016

Page 13

IPASJ International Journal of Electrical Engineering (IIJEE)


A Publisher for Research Motivation........

Volume 4, Issue 2, February 2016

Web Site: http://www.ipasj.org/IIJEE/IIJEE.htm


Email: editoriijee@ipasj.org
ISSN 2321-600X

3. WORKING OF LIGHTNING PROTECTION SYSTEM


The fig.4 below shows the lightning protection system installed on a structure.

Fig.4 Lightning protection system on a structure


A lightning protection system is mainly installed to protect structures from lightning stroke and eliminate the damages
associated with it. The system consists of a lightning rod, conductor cables, and ground rods for its operation. When
lightning strikes the building or structure, the lightning rod installed at a height on the building captures it. The high
lightning current is passed from the lightning rod through the conductor cables, mounted on the roof and main parts of
a building, to the ground rods which are placed deeply in the earth. The system hence plays an important role in
guiding the lightning stroke to the ground through a safe path, eliminating any damage to the building. This system
protects the building and its surrounding from any damages, fire hazards, loss of human life, etc. The system also
eliminates the damage to electrical appliances like T.V sets, refrigerator, phones, etc, in the building premises [1].

4. CONCLUSION
This paper presents the introduction to protection of building from lightning strokes. The basic components associated
with the lightning protection system and its working is also discussed. This concept is useful in protection of buildings
from lightning strokes which helps in eliminating the damages caused to the building, damage of electrical appliances,
fire hazards and ultimately the loss of human life.
REFERENCES
[1] http://www.buzzle.com/articles/how-does-a-lightning-rod-system-work-to-protect-buildings.html
[2] www.elec-toolbox.com/usefulinfo/lightprot.htm
[3] http://www.gcl.in/tsd/doc/35_lightning_protection_systems.pdf

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