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Lightning Research

at
the University of Florida
Shreeharsh Mallick

The content of this presentation are for


educational purpose. You are welcome to
use these materials as long as you
acknowledge the source.

The phenomenon of lightning occurs through a set of


complex processes. In the subsequent slides, some of
the details are abstracted in order to present the
fundamental aspects of these processes in a simple
way. To learn more about lightning, please refer to the
books/papers in the reference slide (at the end) or
contact
Dr. Vladimir A. Rakov (E-mail: rakov@ece.ufl.edu)
Dr. Martin A. Uman (Email: uman@ece.ufl.edu)
For information regarding UF Lightning Research
Group, visit http://www.lightning.ece.ufl.edu
3

Introduction

What is
Lightning?
Lightning is the discharge of
atmospheric electricity

Photograph by: Dustin Hill

TLE or Transient Luminous


Events (sprites, elves)

Cloud-to-cloud
flash
(intracloud)
Thundercloud
_ _
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_
_

+
+

+
+

+
+
+

+
+
+

+ + +
+ +
+

+
+

Cloud-to-cloud
flash
(intercloud)

+ + +
_

_
_

_
_

_
_

_
_

Cloud-to-air
flash

Thundercloud

Cloud-to-ground
flash

Earth

Downward
Negative
(90% of
CG flash)

Upward
Negative

Downward
Positive

Upward
Positive

Depending on direction of propagation and polarity of charges


(Adapted from Lightning Physics & Effects by V. A. Rakov & M. A. Uman)

_
_

Thundercloud
_
_
_
_
_
+

Streamer

_
Charges in Cloud

Dart/Dart-Stepped
Leader
Ionized Air

Stepped
Leader

Negative
downward
natural
lightning

1st Return Stroke


2nd Return Stroke

3rd Return Stroke

Current

Attachment
Striking
Distance

Upward
Leaders

Image Charges
on Ground

Objects on
Ground
+

Natural lightning at Camp Blanding


Photograph by: Dustin Hill

Still-camera
image

Streak-camera image

Channel-base current
10
(Adapted from Lightning Physics & Effects
by V. A. Rakov & M. A. Uman)

Various Steps of Lightning Discharge Process over Time

11
(Adapted from Lightning
by M. A. Uman)

M-component

12

(Adapted from Lightning Physics & Effects by V. A. Rakov & M. A. Uman)

Negative Lightning for Cloud-to-Ground


Overall duration:

200-300 ms

Peak current:

1st stroke = 30 kA
Sub. stroke = 10-15 kA
M-comp. = 100-200 A

10-90% current rise-time:

1st stroke = 5 s
Sub. stroke = 0.3-0.6 s
M-comp. = 300-500 s

Current duration to HPW-value on tail:


1st stroke = 70-80 s
Sub. stroke = 30-40 s
Max. current rate of rise:

1st stroke = 10-20 kA/s


Sub. stroke = 100 kA/s

(Adapted from Lightning Physics & Effects by V. A. Rakov & M. A. Uman)

Parameters of downward negative lightning based on channel-based current.


Adapted from Berger et al. (1975)
% exceeding tabulated values
Sample
Parameters
Units
size
95%
50%
5%

1st strokes

101

14

30

80

Sub. Strokes

135

4.6

12

30

1st strokes

92

5.5

12

32

Sub. Strokes

122

12

40

120

Front duration
(2 kA to peak)

1st strokes

89

1.8

5.5

18

Sub. Strokes

118

0.22

1.1

4.5

Stroke duration
(2 kA to HPW-value
on tail)

1st strokes

90

30

75

200

Sub. Strokes

115

6.5

32

140

1st strokes

94

0.15

13

1100

39

31

180

900

133

33

150

Peak current
(min. 2 kA)

kA

Max. dI/dt

kA/s

Flash duration

ms
Sub. Strokes

Time
interval
14
between strokes

ms

_
_

Thundercloud
_
_
_
_
_
+

_
_
Charges in Cloud

Dart/Dart-Stepped
Leader

Ionized Air

Initial
Continuous
Current

Upward
lightning

Subsequent
Return Stroke
Upward
Positive
Leader

Streamer

Image Charges
on Ground

Ground-Based
Tall Object

Lightning striking Burj Khalifa in Dubai


(unknown source)

Still-camera
image

Streak-camera image

Channel-base current
Note initial continuous current in place of first return stroke
17
(Adapted from Lightning Physics & Effects
by V. A. Rakov & M. A. Uman)

_
_

_
_

_
_
Thundercloud
_
_
+

_
_

_
_
Charges in Cloud

Natural Channel

Dart/Dart-Stepped
Leader
Initial
Continuous
Current

Streamer

Upward
Positive
Leader
Ionized Air
Subsequent
Return Stroke

Triggered
lightning
using rocketand-wire
technique

Exploded Wire
Wire connected
to Ground
Rocket
Launcher

Image Charges
on Ground

Rocket Triggered Lightning at Camp Blanding

Subsequent strokes in triggered lightning are


similar to those in natural lightning
20
(Adapted from Lightning Physics & Effects
by V. A. Rakov & M. A. Uman)

_
_

_
_

_
_
Thundercloud
_
_
+

_
_

_
_
Charges in Cloud

Current

Streamers

Leaders
Return Stroke

Altitude
triggered
lightning

Wire not
connected to
ground
Interceptor
Rocket
Launcher

Image Charges
on Ground

Lightning
strikes plane
while take off in
Japan
(unknown
source).
(classical
example of
altitude
triggered
lightning)
22

UF
Lightning
Research
Group
23

Facilities
The Lightning Center for Lightning Research
and Testing (ICLRT) at Camp Blanding, FL
Rocket-Triggered Lightning Experiments

The Lightning Observatory in Gainesville, FL


(45 km from Camp Blanding)
Starke Site (3 km from Camp Blanding)
The Lightning Research Laboratory
24

Activities
Studying the various physical
processes in natural and rockettriggered lightning
Current shunts/Pearson coil
Electric and Magnetic field antennas
X-Ray detectors
HF and VHF systems
Optical equipments

25

ICLRT at Camp Blanding, Florida

26
(Adapted from Lightning Physics & Effects
by V. A. Rakov & M. A. Uman)

Rocket Triggered Lightning

(Click on the photograph to start video)

Rocket Triggered Lightning

(Click on the photograph to start video)

Rocket Triggered Lightning

(Click on the photograph to start video)

LOG is located 45 km from CB. Starke site, which is located 3 km


from CB, is not shown on the map.
30

Lightning Observatory in Gainesville

Glass
Cupola

E-field
antenna

X-ray
detector
dE/dt
antenna

Single-station expt. (Natural lightning around Gainesville)

Lightning Observatory in Gainesville

Multi-station expt. (RTL at CB; far-field measurements at 45 km)

Flash UF 09-25

Near and far field measurement


33

Starke Site

Multi-station expt. (RTL at CB; far-field measurements at 3 km)


Single-station expt. (Natural lightning around Starke)

Study on distribution line done at Camp Blanding

Study on underground cable done at Camp Blanding

Fulgurite

Study on underground cable done at Camp Blanding

Study on residential house done at Camp Blanding

(Click on the photograph to start video)

Case Study
Triggered-Lightning Testing of
Lightning Protective System
of a Residential Building
(Triggered-Lightning Testing of the Protective System of a Residential
Building: 2004 and 2005 Results, B.A. DeCarlo, V.A. Rakov, J. Jerauld, G.H.
Schnetzer, J. Schoene, M.A. Uman, K.J. Rambo, V. Kodali, D.M. Jordan, G.
Maxwell, S. Humeniuk, and M. Morgan, ICLP 2006)

Office

IS1

Experimental
set-up

Launch
Control

600 V
Underground
Cable

Tower
Launcher

Test House

Lead
conductor

Test
3-Phase
Distribution
Line

Test Runway

North

Instrumentation box

The test house at the ICLRT whose LPS was subjected to direct lightning
strikes in 2004 and 2005. Approximate dimensions of the house are 10 x 7 x
6.5 m3. Photo from 2005.

Experimental set-up (2004)


Lightning current
injection point
3.8 m

Air
terminal

9.9 m

Ground
Level
To electrical
circuit neutral

4.6 m

B
D
3m

3.4 m

6.1 m

Diagram of the LPS of the test house in 2004. All conductors below the plane labeled
Ground Level are buried (in direct contact with earth).
Note: Return stroke current only was injected in 2004.

Experimental set-up (2004)

SPDs

Watt-hour
meter 600-V Cable

6
K
4

50

50

Buried
D
conductor
A

336 468

668

69

Electrical diagram of test system configuration for 2004. Currents A, B, C, D, and K were
measured at the test house, and current G was measured at IS1, 50-m away.

Current division results (2004)


Point B

Point A
SPDs

Injected
(a)

Watt-hour
meter 600-V Cable

6
K
4
Buried
conductor

Point K
Point C

50

Point D

336 468

50

D
C

668

69

(b)
Return-stroke currents for stroke 0401-3, displayed on a 10 s time scale. (a)
injected current and currents at points A, B, C, D, and K; (b) currents for flash
0401-7.

Experimental set-up (2005)


Air
terminal

Lightning current
injection point

3.8 m
9.9 m

Ground
Level

4.6 m

A1

To electrical
circuit neutral

6.8 m

D
B1

3m
3.4 m

Diagram of the LPS of the test house in 2005. All conductors below the plane labeled
Ground Level are buried (in direct contact with earth).
Note: Both initial-stage and return-stroke currents were injected in 2005.

Experimental set-up (2005)


Watt-hour
meter
600-V Cable

50
A

A1

B1

442 488 518 524


636
Buried loop conductor

50
G

69

Electrical diagram of test system configuration for 2005. Currents A, A1, B, B1, and D
were measured at the test house, and Current G was measured at IS1, 50 m away.

Current, kA

Current division results (2005)


0

Downlead A
Downlead A1
Downlead B
Downlead B1

-1
-2
0521-1
-3

20

Current, kA

40
60
Time, s

80

(a)

100
0521-1

-2
-4

Injected Current
Sum of 4 Downleads

-6
-8

20

40
60
Time, s

80

(b)

100

(a) Return stroke currents in four downleads (A, A1, B, and B1) ,
(b) The sum of the four downlead currents (A, A1, B, and B1) vs. the injected current
waveform displayed on a 110 s time scale for stroke 0521-1.

Current division results (2005)


Current, kA

-5
Injected Current
(Sum - D), scaled

0521-1
-10

20

Current, kA

40
60
Time, s

80

(a)

100

-2
-4

Current D
Current G

0521-1
-6

20

40
60
Time, s

80

(b)

100

(a) Injected current versus the difference between the sum of the four downlead currents
and current D, labeled (Sum D). The (Sum D) waveform is scaled so that its peak is equal
to that of the injected current and represents the current going to the grounding system
(local) of the test house. (b) Current D versus current G.

Current division results, 2004 vs. 2005


Peak value of current D (current to electrical circuit neutral) vs. injected peak
current for return strokes in flashes triggered in 2004 and 2005.
Characteristics

Injected current,
kA

Current D, kA

Current D relative
to Injected current,
%

2004

2005

2004

2005

2004

2005

Minimum

3.6

6.8

0.8

4.4

16

51

Maximum

17.8

34.4

3.4

8.5

28

72

Arithmetic Mean

9.4

14.4

2.1

6.6

22

59

Standard
Deviation

4.1

8.8

0.9

1.8

3.6

8.5

Geometric Mean

4.7

12.7

1.9

6.1

22

58

Sample Size

11

11

11

Over 80% of the injected peak current was observed to enter the electrical
circuit neutral in similar 1997 tests at the ICLRT (Rakov et al., 2002).

Damage to the system

4 mm

Adjacent
damage

(a)

Damage to the insulation of the 600-V cable,


(a) puncture of the insulation of one conductor of the 600-V cable,
(b) damage to all three conductors of the cable.

(b)

Current division results (2004 vs. 2005)


Lightning current
injection point

2004

Lightning current
injection point

2005

Air
terminal

To electrical
circuit neutral

Ground
Level

To
electrical
circuit
neutral

Ground
Level

Air
terminal

A1
A

B
D

B1

16

0521-1

0401-1
12

Peak Current, kA

Peak current, kA

14

10
8
6
4

2
0

0
Inj.

Inj.

A1

B1

Bar charts of peak current of injected (Inj.) current, currents in ground rod A, ground
rod A1 (2005), ground rod B, ground rod B1 (2005), ground rod C (2004),
and current D for events LSA-0401-1 and LSA-0521-1.

Current division results (2004 vs. 2005)


2004

Lightning current
injection point

Lightning current
injection point

2005

Air
terminal

To electrical
circuit neutral

A1
A

B1
N

35

0401-1

0521-1

30
25

HPW, s

HPW, s

Ground
Level

To
electrical
circuit
neutral

Ground
Level

80
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
3

Air
terminal

20
15
10
5

Inj.

Inj.

A1

B1

Bar charts of half-peak width of injected (Inj.) current, currents in ground rod A, ground
rod A1 (2005), ground rod B, ground rod B1 (2005), ground rod C (2004), and current D
for events 0401-1 and 0521-1.

Summary
The primary objective was to examine current division between
local (at the test house) and remote grounding systems
Current entering the electrical circuit neutral in percent of the
injected current:
1997 >80%
2004 22%
better grounding at the test house than in 1997
2005 59%
Roughly a factor of two to three larger current in 2005 than in 2004
was forced to search its way to remote ground
Overall, configuration tested in 2004 (RS only; SPDs installed)
performed better than the configuration tested in 2005 (IS + RS;
SPDs disconnected)
In absence of SPDs in 2005, the watt-hour meter incurred damage,
similar to the no-SPD configuration tested in 1997 (Rakov et al.,
2002)

QUESTIONS?

For information regarding UF Lightning Research Group, visit


http://www.lightning.ece.ufl.edu
54

References
Lightning Physics and Effects, V. A. Rakov and M.
A. Uman, Cambridge University Press, 2003
Lightning, M. A. Uman, Dover Publication, 1969
Triggered-Lightning Testing of the Protective
System of a Residential Building: 2004 and 2005
Results, B.A. DeCarlo, V.A. Rakov, J. Jerauld, G.H.
Schnetzer, J. Schoene, M.A. Uman, K.J. Rambo,
V. Kodali, D.M. Jordan, G. Maxwell, S.
Humeniuk, and M. Morgan, ICLP 2006
55

Photograph by: Dustin Hill