Before lightning strikes an object, it is referred to as being a “step leader”. This stepped leader is almost invisible and has a low current of about 200 amps. It reaches from the charge centre in the cloud towards its mirror image with the strike moving from one cloud to another, then towards earth.
This step leader travels on an average of 50 metres in a microsecond, pauses for 49 microseconds then jumps, often branching out from the original step leader to numerous jumps. The farthest ends of the step leader could be as potent as the charge centre itself. As these branches reach earth, a strong voltage is gained between the step leader’s end and any object on earth. The gradient becomes intense and the air above the object on earth becomes ionized, breaking up the air, and if the object is pointed it breaks down sooner (this is often the case with lightning rods).
The energy from the charge in the cloud is established into the conductive channel until the electrons in the cloud cannot keep up with the discharge leading up to a massive earth strike and small branches discharging back to the main strike. Lightning is a source of continuous current and will develop whatever voltage is necessary to overcome the resistance of the struck object. Series path inductance or cloud electron migration will sooner or later stop the lightning current.
Lightning strikes are DC and the usual current waveshape of the strike includes a speedy time leading up to peak current flow; it is this characteristic that creates mayhem with your electronics.
PHD presents real surge and lightning protection offering advice and an expert team of engineers together with cutting edge technology to ensure your electronic equipment is protected from instabilities and surges. Surge and lightning protection have been created to ensure your business and electronics within the work environment are protected using state-of-the-art technology.
South Africa has a high incidence of lightning strikes – it is, therefore, advisable to ensure your electronic equipment is protected from surges and strikes and not take unnecessary risks. For this, you can get surge protectors to ensure that you do not lose your valuables. You can also learn more about when to use surge protectors