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Lightning Formations

Lightning Formation

In normal conditions, atmospheric charges are balanced, but cloud formation creates charge polarization. In such case, normally lower part of cloud gets negatively charged, inducing the positive charge at the ground or other elements on ground. Electric field at the atmosphere can reach in kilovolts(KV). Positive charges are more evident at pointed and metallic objects or well earthed objects & trees. When electric field becomes high then cloud starts discharging towards ground, which results in downward leader. Similarly, metallic parts / structure where positive charges are present, starts moving upwards forming an upward leader. These upward and downward leader when meet may result in lightning discharge to ground. Such high charged metallic part may struck by lightning. This discharge moves down to earth through most direct path. Hence, if this path is not controlled then disasters may happen. However, lightning discharges can be both positive and negative.


    Thermal Effect- Excessive energy in lightning discharge may cause fire.

    Electrodynamic Effect- Damage to structure.

    Electrical Effect- Equipment may damage. Due to increase in ground potential, surge currents may damage equipments connected to electrical network.

    Inductive Effects – Due to electromagnetic field, currents may couple to all conductors & may damage equipments connected to it.

    Effects on living beings – Electrocution, burns or even loss of life & may lead to cardiac arrest also.

Damage due to lightning may be high in terms of loss of life, fire, equipments failure, loss of time, & production. Hence, protection from direct lightning strike is must.