Charges Flow Between Clouds And The Ground In Lightning Because Principles of Lightning and Surge Protection

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Principles of Lightning and Surge Protection

Lightning strikes of 200kA or 300kV pose hazards to equipment or the site, so lightning protection is critical to operation.

Let’s start with an introductory note on what lightning is and why lightning protection is so important. The basic phenomenon for lightning is that the charges accumulated from the cloud and the ground are equal and opposite. This creates an uneven surface of potential gradient in the air. When the gradient is greater than the surface potential, breakup occurs and a “streamer” flows from the cloud towards the ground.

A direct strike occurs when lightning strikes power systems directly, resulting in a huge potential to cause the destruction of equipment or a facility. In contrast, an indirect shock occurs due to a lightning discharge in the vicinity of a power line or due to an electrostatic discharge on a conductor due to charged clouds.

The main elements of the power system that require lightning protection are power supplies, security systems, telephone lines, data and control systems, and RF cables.

Lightning protection methods

The rolling ball method is used to identify the exact placement of lightning and surge protection devices near live equipment.

The power line is protected against direct impacts with a grounding wire or a protective tube. The former produces an electrostatic shielding effected by cloud-to-line and line-to-ground capacitances. The latter creates an arc between the electrodes, which causes gas deionization.

Roof/frame protection

It is interesting to note that the frame or cladding of the building and roof is preferably metal rather than insulating.

The installation of the termination on the top of the electrical tower must be at least 1.5 m above the highest antenna or lights. Such a roof or building frame is made of reinforced steel for protection.

Wooden towers without arresters can create a fire hazard by directing incoming charges into the ground. In principle, for non-metallic roofs, suitable drainage conductors must be installed at the appropriate location and height.

Device protection

Lightning protection of the antenna is provided by a spark gap, a gas discharge tube and a quadruple attachment for four wavelengths. The first method uses ball points so that a high potential is created between them and the ground if an impact occurs. Another method causes deionization of the gas by arcing between the electrodes. The latter method uses a coaxial transmission line over the transmission line so that the system bandwidth is narrow.

A lightning arrester is a device that provides protection against lightning by regulating sparks. The classification of devices can range from rod gap, horn gap and valve type to metal oxide lightning arresters.

Grounding and bonding solutions

Now let’s talk about how grounding and bonding solutions should be provided for lightning protection. The design of ground rods, clamps or clamps must be designed to direct incoming transient currents to ground to minimize step and touch potentials. The selected geometric dimensions must comply with IEEE and NFPA standards. Any earthing system must have a proper connection, as the rise in earth potential cannot be compensated for. Again, the number of interconnections and spacing should be designed according to lightning rod standards.

Surge protection

The ideal device for protection against traveling waves is a surge arrester connected between the wiring and ground at the station. Its purpose is to divert excessive input voltage to ground by developing a low impedance between the line and ground. Surge protection is essential because surges can damage lightning protection devices and others down the line. The measurement of overvoltage can be carried out according to the Faraday principle or remote control with sensors.

If there are surge devices, they are installed between surge arresters or arresters and control equipment.

Surge protection for telephone cables is by means of a gas arrester, metal oxide varistors and suppression diodes.

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