Lighting Protection Theory

THE LIGHTNING PHENOMENON
Lightning is the phenomenon which accompanies the discharge of atmospheric charges from cloud to cloud or from cloud to earth. As lightning seeks the path of the least resistance, it naturally tends to follow the shortest way between cloud and earth, such as buildings or towering projections. As illustrated positive electrical charges gather in the clouds and negative charges gather in the ground. When the attraction between these two charges are strong enough they come together in the form of lightning. Lightning arrester equipment, properly manufactured and installed, dissipates the charges. In temperate climates a large majority of lightning is negative downwards lightning, as the negatively-charged cloud-base discharges to the ground. The most important parameters are the following :

• • • • • • • •

Amplitude Rise time Decay time Current variation rate (di/dt) Polarity Charge Specific energy Number of strikes per discharge.

The first three parameters are independent in terms of statistics . The expected effects of the characteristic lightning parameters are as follows:

• • • • • •

Optical effects Acoustical effects Electro-chemical effects Thermal effects Electro-dynamic effects Electro-magnetic radiation

LIGHTNING PROTECTION Lightning Protection system are seperated two parts ; External Lightning Protection System (LPS) and Internal Lightning Protection System. External Lightning Protection System - LPS External LPS is designed for protection of structures opposite to the direct lightning strokes. For external LPS the following three different methods are used,

• •

Air Rod Mesh Method

Taking the fact into consideration that there are up to 100 lightning discharges to the ground every second throughout the world. home etc. then electrical charges are generated. (IEC 62305. the positive charges are concentrated in the upper part. In general. it is always possible that a lightning strike hits the place which is particulary close and important to you. water vapour drift and interact. we recommend to install the lightning protection on the structure regardless of the existance of a strike hazard level. A protection level selection depends on the kind of building. frontal storms-caused by the impact of a front of cold air on a warm moist air mass which is lifted above the advancing cold front.95 is a 45º "Rolling Sphere" rule. A cloud-to-ground discharge proceeds towards the ground (small upward discharge can also be initiated from elevated ground points and this kind of discharge is called a ground-to-cloud discharge) or towards the neighbouring cloud.• Early Streamer Emission Lightning Rods The protection level must be calculated before one of the above mentioned methods can be chosen. its structure and value.. . with the relatively small decline of potential in its channel. The higher the efficiency of a lightning conductor is. Points between the sphere and the structure indicate the protected areas. Angle α for the protection level 0.90 0. which is called cloud-to-cloud discharge. On the ground of our observations and experiences gained in this field. Lightning is formed as a result of processes occurring in the storm clouds.98 0. When air masses.1 . The outer structure contour is described by spheres.80 The Zones of protection can be determined by the "Cone of Protection" and "Rolling Sphere" methods. the lower the risk of damages caused by lightning strikes will become. A high negative cloud potential (of the order of 108 V) is conveyed towards the ground by the downward leader. The main function of the lightning protection system installed on the existing building is to capture a lightning strike and then conduct the discharge current safely to the ground. Sound and visual effects of a lightning discharge are preceded by an invisible initiated process. When one of the upward leaders comes into contact with the downward leader. Conventional lightning protection system Conventional lightning systems are based on the protection of a structure by making an installation of horizontal or vertical air terminals which are connected to the earth with the help of downconductors. A further charge growth causes an escalation of the electric field intensity until it exceeds the critical value. lightning installations are divided into: conventional and active ones. By means of the procedure described below. it is possible to decide according to the chosen protection level whether the lightning protection is required or not. A List of the effectiveness of lightning conductor with corresponding protection levels follows below. In a typical storm cloud. whereas the negative charges build up at the base of the cloud. Protection Level I II III IV Effectiveness of lightning conductor E 0. a conductive path of ionized air is created allowing a powerful current to flow equalizing the potential difference between the cloud and the ground. There are two types of storms (depending on the way how they are formed): • • heat storms-formed as a result of strong heating and drifting upwards of the bottom air masses. made it necessary that special tasks were assigned to design engineers to take care about the quality of lightning protection system on every higher building. ice crystals. The areas touched by the sphere are deemed to require protection.1 and standarts of Europe) LIGHTNING PROTECTION THEORY Requirements for the the safety of people staying at work. The lightning protection system exists to intercept an atmospheric discharge in order to safely convey its current to the ground. which involves rolling imaginary shperes over the structure. The selection of the protection level allows to minimize the risk of damage to people as well as complex and sophisticated equipment and structures.95 0. the different values of sphere radius have to be considered. The "Cone of Protection" rule consists of placing the protected structure in the zone of protection of high vertical air terminal. Depending on a protection level for a structure.

This is done by connecting the Air Rods to the down conductors. According to table 1. On f i re resistant roofs (metal roofs etc . Air Rods are used for the mesh method and stretched technique.) It is not needed to use air terminals (IEC 62305) Mesh Method Details Protection Levels According to Height and α Angles AIR ROD AND MESH METHOD PROCESSING CRITERIA ACCORDING TO PROTECTION LEVEL Protection Air Rod Height (m) cage (m) Down conductor Level 20 I II III IV α angles 25 35 45 55 30 * 25 35 45 45 * * 25 35 60 * * * 25 5x5 10x10 15x15 20x20 10 15 20 25 distance (m) .AIR ROD Before a Lightning Strike hits. lonization leads to an increase of the electric field around the top of the rod and the lightning current is lead from the rod to the ground. the protected area connects the level of protection according to the protective angle. the length of the rod. while the building is covered by a mesh with down conductors.. the height of the rod above the surface to be protected. Specially Air Terminals are used on conductors crossing points on firing roofs.. In this system the protection stage result the distance of down conductors fixings are determined according to these distances conductors are fixed. In the Roof system of Mesh Metod.

when observed course reduces to 50% of its peak value Note: The virtual beginning is an intersection of time axis and bisector. In the following text the most important parameters of the most used standardized courses will be defined (according to EN 61 643-11.Surge Protection Theory Overvoltage definition Overvoltage is any voltage. Its parameters are defined by its cause (lightning stroke. These courses enable implementation of testing on equipment and constructive elements under the same conditions. whose peak value exceeds the appropriate peak value of the highest operating voltage in the LV power system.25multiple of the time interval between moments. ending impedance. IEC 60-1 and CSN 34 5640). Overvoltage is usually an accidental phenomenon. switching in heavy-current network and so on) and also by electrical character of the circuit (wave resistance. which differs in time history and the place of its occurrence. which goes through points.67multiple of the time interval between moments. where actual value of the front of impulse at first time reaches partly given lower value and partly given higher value …in detail see the following two figures. . when actual Front time of voltage impulse T1 voltage value rise from 30% to 90% of the peak value a part of voltage or current impulse after the peak value Tail of impulse Time to half-value T2 the time interval between virtual beginning of impulse and the moment. Peak value (amplitude) Umax. when Front time of current impulse T1 actual current value rise from 10% to 90% of the peak value 1. discharge ability and so on).Imax peak value is the maximal value of voltage or current which is achieved by monitored impulse course a part of voltage or current impulse before the peak Front of impulse value 1. In the past few years the range of current and voltage courses for different uses has been standardized.

Course and parameters of lightning voltages and currents In the chart shown below there are typical courses and parameters of lightning impulse voltages and currents. Also resulting in a different construction of the lightning current arresters tested by the lightning current impulse Iimp(10/350) and surge arresters tested by the current impulse Imax(8/20).The typical values of lightning impulse voltages and currents. The examination of lightning effects in relation to interfering surges (currents) in consequence of capacitive coupling is similarly carried out by the testing voltage impulses in the waveform of 1.5x higher charge during test by the testing impulse of lightning current Iimp(10/350). than during testing by the current impulse Imax(8/20) with the same amplitude. . building constructions and metal lines.Standardized testing current impulse two basic types of testing current impulses are used during SPD tests: • • Testing impulse of lightning current Iimp(10/350) – it is used for simulation of lightning current (so-called test by lightning current) Testing current impulse Imax(8/20) – it is used for simulation of indirect effect of lightning and switching overvoltages. inductive or capacitive coupling). Testing current impulse in the waveform of 10/350μs is most often used for simulation of currents infiltrating into power lines and electric equipment in consequence of galvanic coupling. which occur in conductive parts of landscape. building constructions and metal lines in consequence of lightning stroke (taking in account influences caused by galvanic. which occur in conductive parts of landscape. In case of inductive and capacitive coupling the voltage and current impulses are considera-bly shorter. Arrester must discharge cca 17.2/50μs. The examination of interfering lightning effects in relation to inductive surges (currents) in consequence of inductive coupling is most often carried out by the testing current impulses in the waveform of 8/20μs.

g. The galvanic coupling is given by a different size of ground potentials along the building (earth electrodes. fields) can infiltrate into the building by ways of different couplings whereas cabling and its layout represent an important part here. voltages.) Capacitive coupling There is always a capacitive coupling (parasitic capac-ity) between the source of interference and the receiver. The higher the front rate of rise of the disturbing voltage impulse (du/dt) is. the stronger its interference effect is.Kinds of surge couplings Generally Disturbing energies (e. protective connection etc. . the overvoltage shows in consequences of a galvanic coupling. currents. Galvanic coupling During near and direct lightning strokes into the lightning conductors of buildings.

The lightning strokes originate in the „storm cells“. Every storm cell is active for up to 30 minutes and generates from two to three lightning strokes per minute. Just a small percentage of strokes happens be tween the surface and the clouds. which stretch average out up to few kilometers. The storm frequency depends on the season. between two or more clouds and each other or between parts of one cloud (cloud lightning). Beyond the storm cells originating from the summer heat there are storm cells originating from the frontal cloudiness as a result of big air masses movement. the higher the interference effect is. The positive charge is usu-ally binded on the frazils at the top of the storm cell. Total impoulse lightning charge Qf THe first stroke charge Qs The first stroke peak current Iimp max. The environmental heating up supports the storm creation.300 C max.100 C max. which causes separation of positive and negative charges. Types of overvoltage Direct Lightning Stroke A lightning stroke is an electric discharge between an electrically charged cloud and earth surface (earth lightning). According to IEC 1312-1:1995 and IEC 62305 it is possible to describe lightning charges by five basic parameters. In summer months (July–August) there are on average 5 times more storms than in winter months (December–February). In the centre of the storm cell there exists a strong rising air flow.Inductive coupling There is always an inductive coupling (magnetic field) between the source of interference and the receiver. Nearby the earth the cell is charged with positive charge which is usually caused by discharge especially from forest. while negative charge is usually binded on water drops at the bottom of the cell. whereas the bottom visible part of the clouds is usually at the height of one to two kilometres. In autumn warm water near the seacoast gives the necessary energy for the storm creation. The storm cell often reaches the height of over 10 kilometres.200 kA . The higher the front rate of rise of the disturbing current impulse (di/dt) activating the magnetic field is.

. IS1= 100kA (10/350) enters the earth termination system of the LPS (lightning protection system) of the structure considered 50% of Iimp=200kA (10/350)…. Where an individual evaluation is not possible. communication lines. Iv = Ii /m.Specific energy the first stroke current W/R Rate of rise of the current di/dt max. etc. the number of conductors. power distribution system and so on for the purposes of establishing current distribution going through SPD in case of direct lightning stroke into a building protected by the outside lightning system. IS2= 100kA (10/350) is distributed among the services entering the structure (external conductive parts.) The value of the current flowing in each service Ii is given by IS/n. For evaluating the current Iv in individual conductors in unscreened cables.e. el.10 MJ/Ω max. It is generally recommended to come out from the ohmic resistance of the building earthing. The following figure shows a typical example of lightning current distribution in an object hit by direct lightning stroke. i. where n is the number of the above mentioned services (see the above figure). pipeline. the cable current Iiis divided by m. it can be assumed that: • • 50% of the total lightning current Iimp=200kA (10/350)….200 kA/μs General distribution of lightning current when an object is thunderstruck Protection system of LV power system composited of lightning current arresters and surge arresters SPD must be able to discharge lightning currents or their substantial parts without their damage.power.

the current will flow along the shield. In this zone the electromagnetic field may also be attenuated depending on the screening measures Zone where items are not subject to direct lightning strokes and where currents on all conductive parts within this zone are further reduced compared with zones 0B. the lower the electromagnetic environment parameters.For shielded cables. by currents on metal conductors (e. In this zone the electromagnetic field may also be attenuated depending on the screening measures LPZ 1 LPZ 2 If a further reduction of conducted currents and/or elec-tromagnetic field is required. At the boundary of the individual zones. cable shields and tubes). bonding bars. Requirement on dimensioning of protective system SPD in the most usual connection of the building and LV power system (TNC . In this zone the electromagnetic field may also be attenuated depending on the screening measures Zone where items are not subject to direct lightning strokes and where currents on all conductive parts within this zone are further reduced compared with zones 0B. and by cable routing.g. that is on cca 8kA (10/350) in most cases. subsequent zones shall be introduced. The requirement for those zones shall be selected according to the required environmental zones of the system to be protected. but the unattenuated electromagnetic field occurs LPZ OC Zone where items are not subject to direct lightning strokes and where currents on all conductive parts within this zone are further reduced compared with zones 0B. the unattenuated electromagnetic field occurs here. In . the higher the number of the zones. The following figure shows an example for dividing a structure into several zones. LPZ 0B and LPZ 1. LPZ 0B and LPZ 1 is defined in IEC 13 12-1 and IEC 62 305. Distribution of protected area into the lightning protection zones The standard IEC 13 12-1 and IEC 62 305 defines the lightning protection zones LPZ from the respect of the direct even indirect lightning effect.system 230/400V/50Hz) results from this reasoning: For maximum lightning current size Iimp = 200kA (10/350) it is enough to dimension the protective cascade of each phase conductor entering the object on cca 4% Iimp. These zones are characteristic thanks to fundamental breaks of the electromagnetic conditions in their limited zones. Note: Bonding at the boundary between LPZ 0A. bonding of all metal penetrations shall be provided and screening measures might by installed. There all electric power and signal lines enter the protected volume (LPZ 1) at one point. LPZ OB Zone where items are not subject to direct lightning strokes. The electromagnetic fields inside a structure are influenced by opening windows. and therefore may have to carry up to the full lightning current. In general. LPZ OA Zone where items are subject to direct lightning strokes. and are bonded to bonding bar 1 at the boundary of LPZ 0A.

For extra important protected equipment it is recommended to secure it by a quality continuous surge protection class III with high-frequency filter at the boundary of LPZ 2→3. If there are adjacent structures between which power and communication cables pass.surge arrester class II tested by testing impulse Imax(8/20) at the boundary zone LPZ 1→2. It is recommended to insert 2nd stage protection . Standardly it is recommended to insert so-called 1ststage protection – surge arrester class I tested by lightning current Iimp(10/350) at the zone boundary LPZ 0→1.addition. which must be integrated into the meshed earthing system. by enclosing all the cables in metal conduits or gridlike reinforced concrete ducts. the bonding must be executed at each boundary. The lightning currents are further reduced. LPZ 2 is constructed in such a way that partial lightning currents are not transferred into this volume and cannot pass through it.g. the earthing system shall be interconnected. and it is beneficial to have many parallel paths to reduce current in the cables. Furthermore. . e. the outer shield 1 of the structure is bonded to bonding bar 1 and the inner shield 2 to bonding bar 2. the lines are bonded to the internal bonding bar 2 at the boundary of LPZ 1 and LPZ 2. A meshed earthing system fulfills this requirement. Where cables pass from one LPZ to another. At the boundary of LPZ 2→3 and subsequently along the consequential circuit there is also recommended to shoulder after every cca 10m by socalled 3rd stage protection class III also tested by testing impulse Imax(8/20) or UOC. The above described segmentation of the protected ob-ject into protection zones gives possibilities of active protection of the LV power system thanks to insertion of the protective SPDs (usually at the zone boundary LPZ 0→1and LPZ 1→2) and other protective SPDs at the zone boundary LPZ 2→3.

the device working is regulated by the atmospheric field. During normal atmospheric conditions. the difference of potential between them during lightning approaching becomes considerable.E Lightning Conductor The main function of the lightning protection system installed on the existing building is to capture a lightning stroke and then conduct discharge current safety to the ground. This difference of potential is the power supply of the lightning conductor internal device. then the internal trigger works. The lightning discharge is initiated by so-called down conductor which creates an ionised air path (downwards or upwards) between the cloud and the ground for the necessary flow of any lightning currents. avoiding then unnecessary stress to the components.E Lightning Conductor SCHIRTEC E.E. One of these streamers will become the upward leader. air charges become also a part of the internal current. The advantages of these characteristics are.S. we recommended to use the active lightning protection whenever the conventional solution solution is inconvenient or when the former is more preferable to the latter as in the case of the efficient protection of architect. during thunderstorms the device detects when a proper electric field exists. then the internal trigger works.S. the downward leader approaching and the strong increase of the electric field caused by it are the factors that activate the mean function of the internal device . is reached earlier than with a simple rod. causing the necessity of a strong concentration of charges at the armature surface. forming then the lightning discharge path. while the other remains at atmospheric potential. The previous phase to the formation of the upward leader is the formation of corona discharges (streamers) that propagate towards the downward leader. Inside the components of the internal device.When the voltage between the armatures exceeds a certain value which the circuit is designed for. the ionised area is growing much faster than with a simple rod. The first difference with a simple lightning rod starts already when storm clouds appear. Inside the lightning conductor. however the active lightning system is the only possible method to protect from direct lightning strokes. Due to the arguments mentioned above. Therefore. which will propagate continuously to the downward leader. The strong and sudden concentration of positive charges cause repellent forces in the ionised area. One of them is connected to ground. using the accumulated energy for pumping to inside the ionised area. On another side. which break the existing border. The device is designed in such a way that the transitory current does not get lost. The device has provoked then a streamer effect. Therefore. and the internal device is not working. equi-potential lines become very close together. avoiding the ‘'glow regime'' that was lowering the effectiveness of a simple lightning rod. The great magnitude of the electric field during the thunderstorm produces that. using the accumulated energy for pumping to designed for. but remains as electromagnetic fields in the components of the electrical device. The electric field value. In some conditions. because it provokes a strong and rapid increase of the atmospheric electric field. because the internal device makes the voltage increase over ground level. Operating Principle: Schirtec-A lightning conductor is formed by two armatures. The internal device is located in the body of Schirtec-A and is called Variable Impedance Unit . on one side. and when the downward leader is approaching. . that in normal conditions the device is not working. the charge is also neutral in every area (also at the air). although armatures are separated by a very short distance. able to ionise the air around the tip. Then.

Details of SCHIRTEC-A (S-A) 1. forming then the discharge path. which will progress continuously till reaching the downward leader. It will be the receiver of the lightning strike. Grounding Connection Terminal .The streamer emission under these conditions favours the upward leader formation. as the Schirtec-A is the point where the upward leader was formed. Ion Generator 3. Then. Accelerator and Atmospheric Electrodes 4. Air Terminal 2.

h Installation height. Protection Level Calculator . with a metal roof could be attributed to protection class 1. the higher the lightning conductor is installed the greater the protective radius Rp (m) Rp(m) Radius protection. material of the roof and the roof construction (wood. an inhabited house. metall. The safety class can be calculated with our lightning risk program. Protectionlevel The protection level of the object depends on several factors such as: • • • if the object is inhabited or not if the object is expolosiv or not. e.g.. A telephone pole of low value could attributed to the protection class 4. we recommend to install the lightning conductor in a height of 5 to 6 meters because you can then achieve a high level of protection.Explanation Proteciton Radius Table Here you will find an explanation on how to read the protection radius table correctly...) The more valuable and vulnerable the object is the higher the level of protection needed.

8084 Ae=15061.C4.Ae.0423 C1=1 C2=0.10-6 Accepted Lightning Frequency C=C2.Td1.0022 .C3.10-3/C VALUES L=50 W=30 H=15 Td=30 Ng=2.04.7251 C1=1 RESULTS Ae=15061.5 C3=1 C4=1 Nc=0.7251 Nd=0.C1.FORMULAS The Equivalent Collection Area of Structure Ae=LW+6H(L+W)+9πH2 (For rectangular fields) Expended Lightning Frequency Ng=0.5.25 Nd=Ng.C5 Nc=5.

98 0.95 0.. The protection radius has to be specified according to NF C 17. 150 m x 50m. Lightning Conductors (According to NFC 17 102) Rp SCHIRTEC-AS SCHIRTEC-DAS SCHIRTEC-A/DA (ΔL=15m) (ΔL=45m) (ΔL=60m) H(m) I II III IV I II III IV I II III IV 2 13 15 18 20 25 28 32 36 31 35 39 43 4 25 30 36 41 51 57 64 72 63 69 78 85 5 32 37 45 51 63 71 81 89 79 86 97 107 6 32 38 46 52 63 71 81 90 79 87 97 107 8 33 39 47 54 64 72 82 91 79 87 98 108 10 34 40 49 56 64 72 83 92 79 88 99 109 20 35 44 55 63 65 74 86 97 80 89 102 113 30 35 45 58 69 65 75 89 101 80 90 104 116 60 35 45 60 75 65 75 90 105 80 90 105 120 Efficiency E= 0.95 E > 0..C5=5 C=2.98 0. Protection Level 1 Example 2 for S-A: Factoryhall. The radii overlap and provide for the entire production facility sufficient protection.90 <E ≤ 0. E=1-(Nc/Nd) The Protection Radius For SCHIRTEC E. Protection Level 1 There were two lightning conductors S-A installed at a height of 6m.80 Active Lightning Protection Levels LEVEL I + Add LEVEL I LEVEL II LEVEL III LEVEL IV Example 1 for S-A: Single-familiy-home.S. The lightning conductor S-A has been installed at a height of 4m.Optional Protection If Nd>Nc.Protection Required Efficiency .E.90 0<E≤0.95 <E ≤ 0.80 < E≤ 0.The protection radius must be specified according to NF C 17-102 with 79m ...5 If Nd ≤ Nc.

according to our test reports 102 standard with 63m. the effective protection is bigger. according to our test reports.the effective protection is bigger. Protection Radius Table Rp(m) h 2 4 5 6 8 10 20 30 60 S-A (��L: 60m) I 31 63 79 79 79 79 80 80 80 II 35 69 86 87 87 88 89 90 90 III 39 78 97 97 98 99 102 104 105 IV 43 85 107 107 108 109 113 116 120 S-AS (��L: 30m) I 19 38 48 48 49 49 50 50 50 II 22 44 55 55 56 57 59 60 60 III 25 51 63 64 65 66 71 73 75 IV 28 57 71 72 73 75 81 85 90 S-DA (��L: 60m) I 31 63 79 79 79 79 80 80 80 II 35 69 86 87 87 88 89 90 90 III 39 78 97 97 98 99 102 104 105 IV 43 85 107 1007 108 109 113 116 120 I S-DAS (��L: 45m) II 28 57 71 71 72 72 74 75 75 III 32 64 81 81 82 83 86 89 90 IV 36 72 89 90 91 92 97 101 105 25 51 63 63 64 64 65 65 65 Key: h: Installation height I/II/III/IV: Protectionlevel Rp(m): Protectionradius in m Recommended 5 6 installation height .