’Structural Lightning Protection – This term describes what is most readily recognized as the traditional lightning rod (air terminal) system, with its associated bonding and grounding systems. It is important to note that the purpose of a traditional Ben Franklin lightning rod system is to keep the protected structure from burning down. That is why lightning rod systems are covered under National Fire Protection Association standards (http://www.nfpa.org/codes-and-standards/all-codes-and-standards/list-of-codes-and-standards?mode=code&code=780). That was fine back in the days of barns filled with hay and horses. Lightning would strike the lightning rod on the barn and be conveyed to ground. The barn would not burn down, and everyone would be happy, particularly the horses. However, we have now taken the hay and horses out of the barn and installed computers and other sensitive equipment. Lightning now strikes the structure, and the energy is conveyed to ground. The barn does not burn down, but now, none of the computers in the barn work. So everyone is not happy.
Based upon our years of experience and engineered designs, we have developed an integrated systems-approach to environment optimization which may be tailored to any type of facility or operation. The Lightning Master® approach consists of three steps:
- Structural Lightning Protection
- Bonding and Grounding
- Transient Voltage Surge Suppression
See a quick video here:
Lightning Master Steamer Retarding Air Terminals or Fuzzy Balls™:
Since we cannot, with currently available technology, influence the formation of cloud charge or of stepped-leaders, if we want to influence the attachment of cloud-to-ground lightning, we must influence the formation of ground charge and of streamers. Hence, the introduction of streamer-influencing technology.
The purpose-designed streamer-delaying air terminals are designed to delay the formation of lightning-completing streamers from the structure, thereby reducing the likelihood of a direct strike. A good illustration of the general principle is found in the debate between the relative merits of a sharp lightning rod versus a blunt lightning rod. Please refer to the lightning propagation section https://lightningmaster.com/about-lmc/white-papers of these white papers for a review of lightning strike mechanism. Assume we have a sharp rod and a blunt rod side-by-side with the axis between them perpendicular to, and directly facing, an oncoming electrical storm. As the ground charge reaches the two rods, the potential rises on both. The sharp rod will tend to break down into corona under a relatively low potential, leaking off some of the ground potential to the atmosphere. The blunt rod will hold its charge, with ions accumulating on the blunt end.
As the ground potential builds, the corona builds around the sharp rod, while the blunt rod still tends to retain its charge. When the ground potential becomes very high, as when stepped leaders are on their way down from the cloud and there is going to be a strike in the immediate vicinity, the corona will build in density and elevation around the pointed rod. When the blunt rod finally breaks down, it breaks down catastrophically, and the accumulated charge jumps off of the blunt rod in a streamer extending well upward toward the stepped leaders.
Since the object on the ground that throws off the best streamer is the one most likely to be struck, the blunt rod is more likely to trigger a strike than is the sharp rod. Streamer-influencing technology https://lightningmaster.com/about-lmc/white-papers uses this principle to influence strike termination likelihood.
Bonding & Grounding:
Bonding is simply a matter of taking all of the electrical and metallic masses in a facility and connecting them with conductors, bringing them to the same electrical potential. The primary reason for bonding is personnel safety, so someone touching two pieces of equipment at the same time does not receive a shock by becoming the path of equalization if the two pieces of equipment happen to be at different potentials.
For the same reason bonding protects people, it also protects equipment, by reducing current flow on power and data conductors between pieces of equipment at different potentials. Grounding is a matter of bringing the bonded equipment mass to the potential of the surface of the earth which it occupies. Again, the primary reason is personnel safety, and the secondary reason is equipment protection. When it comes to grounding, we need to consider two types of grounding: low impedance grounding of structures, and single-point ground potential referencing for services and equipment.
Transient Voltage Surge Suppression:
The energy and raw power contained in a lightning strike are truly awesome. It is easy to imagine the havoc which a direct strike to your facility can cause. However, the majority of electronics damage is not caused by direct lightning strikes, but is rather the result of transient voltage and current surges induced on power, telecommunications or RF transmission lines by the strong electromagnetic fields created during a lightning strike, and by more mundane causes such as power company switching, nearby heavy loads, traffic accidents involving utility poles, etc.
These surges can propagate for miles on metallic conductors, ending up at your facility service entrances retaining sufficient energy to damage or destroy electronic equipment. If you do not take steps to stop them, power surges can enter your facility and damage or upset your equipment. These transients were not so much of a problem in the days of vacuum tubes which operated on high internal voltages. However, with the introduction of microprocessors which operate on very low internal voltages, they have become a very real problem.
Lightning Master® offers a full line of surge suppressors for industrial and commercial use. We designed these units in-house to meet the needs of our Customers.
The Lightning Master approach: To that end, Lightning Master Corporation has developed a systems approach to help you solve your equipment reliability problems by creating a safe environment in which it may function. We offer services and equipment ranging from those needed to address a specific problem to turn-key optimization. Lightning Master will:
- survey and analyze your existing environment
- provide a written report of findings and recommendations
- design your protection system
- write your specification
- manufacture and supply all required parts and equipment
- provide turnkey system installation or supervise installation by others
- provide continuing customer upgrade and warranty support