Wednesday, November 8, 2023

Physics in action - Life of the ungrounded lightning rod


Lets put up a lightning rod without grounding.  Call it an 'antenna' or dish.  What can go wrong?

A true lightning rod has a sharp point, and a a huge copper cable going to a deep grounding rod.  We don't do that any more.  Since there are millions of these ungrounded things around, the odds are the usual one in a million, but it looks neat.

If a negative charge starts accumulating, it is a precursor for a strike.  If you are standing nearby, your hair rises.  It's a good sign to run away, and get out of the accumulation zone.  A lighting rod starts to shed electrons and drains the area.  Without it, the charge builds up and starts and ion channel.  Then -- boom!

The stroke, or huge bloody ion channel can go anywhere.  It has momentum and energy.  This house got in the way.


Neil T said...

Nearly got whacked by lighting 4 years ago. Last thing I saw was a tree flying through the air and then I was blind (you just see an ice-cream pink colour) . Puts the willies right up you. My mutt still doesn't trust me as the last thing I said to him before the ka-boom was "relax, it'll be ok"

Harold Asmis said...

Yes, the wild men always get hit by lightning. A guy at our lake got hit and his toes were burned. I used to go canoe camping a lot, and when we were sheltering from the storm, I always looked out for the 'lightning tree' and stayed away. I think getting hit by lightning does something to your brain....