Lightning protection of high-rise buildings

We must start with a definition. What is a high-rise building is? From what height this concept is applied in lightning protection? The answer must be sought not in the building design features, but in gas-discharge processes that determine the choice of the point of lightning channel strike. Almost for half a century, there has been a generally accepted hypothesis of Gold, according to which no lightning, which started from a thundercloud, never reached the surface of the ground structure. This happened because a plasma channel launched from the top of the ground structure in the electric field of a thunderstorm cloud, enhanced by the charge of a lightning approaching the ground (counter-leader), and rising towards the lightning, it intercepted it, thereby determining the point of strike. It is necessary to thoroughly understand the mechanism of the discharge counter, to understand the role of the object height. Gold's hypothesis gives several quantitative guidances to this matter.

E. M. Bazelyan

E. M. Bazelyan, DEA, professor;
Power Engineering Institute to the name of G.M. Krzhizhanovsky , Moscow;
a recognized Russian expert in the field of grounding and lightning protection.


1. The mechanism of selecting the strike point by the lightning channel

To learn how exactly a lightning "chooses" the object and what is the mechanism of lightning channel development, read this section.

In the result of reading you will get a clear idea of ​​what buildings are considered high-rise at the calculation of lightning protection system.

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2. The number of lightning strikes into high-rise buildings

The section is devoted to the analysis of dependence of verisimilar number of lightning strikes into the object on its height.

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3. Protection zones of high-altitude lightning rods

This section includes an overview of current regulatory requirements for the calculation of lightning protection zones. There are also author's guidelines about consideration of the building's height.

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4. Lightning current drainage into the ground

What kind of lightning effects must be taken into account when arranging its drainage, and how to minimize them effectively, read in this section.

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5. Grounding devices of high-rise buildings

Perhaps recommendations of modern standards regarding grounding devices, being a part of lightning protection system causes the major part of questions and uncertainties.

This section is designed to help to understand this question.

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6. Touch and step voltage

Key features for grounding device safety for human life activities -are touch and step voltages. This section is devoted to their correct calculation when designing a lightning protection systems of high-rise buildings.

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7. External high voltage

The question is about transportation of high voltage over aboveground and more often underground utilities connecting surface structures. If one of these buildings is high-rise, it quite often sends high voltage waves to the neighboring buildings. This section is devoted to the analysis of these effects.

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8. Technical equipment on the roof

The section devoted to answering the question, how to protect expensive equipment against lightning effectively, the equipment can be placed on the roof of the building, without violating the requirements of modern regulations.

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Brief conclusion

Seven basic principles of a proper design of reliable, safe and effective lightning protection system of high-rise buildings.

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