Friday, 27 February 2015

UNDERSTANDING THE LIGHTNING PROCESS


Hello bizreaders, another day to thank the almighty for.My day is  fine so far ,i hope on the other end is good.Now on todays topic :LIGHTNING.
    All through high school,we've been taught matters related to lightning.We have been tested on why lightning arrestors are fixed on tall buildings.There have been also myths that if you wear red and lightning strikes,you'll be dead meat in a flash of a second.I've witnessed cases of lightning striking cows and most recent a family.The family took shelter when it was raining heavily and by bad luck lightning struck and killed all of them.Since then any talk of lightning sends chills down the spine of the community members.
  Lightning is believed to have brought down planes in the Bermuda triangle.There is an incident that happened in 1967 which a plane was struck by lightning and casualities were reported.This made the aviation industry come up with lightning safety protection mechanisms like covering the fuselage with Aluminium cover since aluminium is a good conductor of electricity and adding more protective layers on the fuel tank area so the lightning spark doesn't find its way through.Since the 1967 incident,aviation industry learnt from the incident and at least every plane is fixed with lightning safety protection mechanisms.The lightning safety measures are applied so that in the event lightning strikes the current discharged is stagnant at the fuselage then later wiped away through the tail of the plane.The plane may experience normal blackouts.The picture below illustrates parts of a plane(just 3 parts)
   The lightning safety standard protection measures have made it difficult for lightning to bring down planes.


The lightning process
So its pouring heavily,then the lightning strikes.This sends chills down your spine especially when it caught you outside fetching water or taking shelter.
It all starts with a branching portion of charge—the “leader”—
descending from the cloud. It spreads downward at speeds of
hundreds of km/s covering the few
kilometers to the ground
in a  dozen milliseconds.
The leader carries
about  200 amps. That’s still
enough to kill a herd of cattles , but
it’s nothing compared to what happens next.


Once the leader makes contact
with the ground or tall object, the
cloud and the ground/tall object
equalize with a heavy discharge of more than 20,000 amps.(Notice the difference). This is the blinding flash you see. It races back up the channel at a significant fraction of the speed of light, covering the
distance in under a millisecond.The upward and download propagation is enough to build a massive current.
  The current built if harvested can be able to serve useful purposes.Its good to see how lightning safety mechanisms have been effective.Like the use of lightning arrestors has really come in handy.When lightning strikes the tallest object as per that time(i.e lightning arrestor),the cloud and the lightening arrestor equalize to release a massive 20000amps.This current is then 'driven' away to the ground thanks to the lightning arrestor.It just saved the day.
  Keep away from lightning.

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