A lightning strike can easily turn a tree to ash, start a fire in a house, and even strike a person. Is it possible to control this formidable element? It turns out that people have long invented a way to protect buildings and other objects from such a danger. For this purpose, a lightning rod is used.
Thunder and lightning
During a thunderstorm, most people flinch when thunder rolls. In fact, it is not this sound that carries the danger, but the discharge of lightning. It is an extremely strong spark that travels several kilometers in the sky in a very short period of time. Since the speed of light significantly exceeds the speed of propagation of sound, a person first sees a bright flash, and only then rolls of thunder reach him.
A technical device, which is designed to protect against lightning strikes, it is more correct to call it not a lightning rod, but a lightning rod, but the first name is more euphonic. In essence, a lightning rod is a long and pointed metal rod that is installed on the roofs of buildings. The lower end of the rod is connected to the ground. The principle of operation of such a device is based on the fact that a lightning strike seeks to find the shortest path. Lightning strikes the rod and, without any harm to other objects, goes into the ground along the wire.
Lightning is especially dangerous for those who stand in an open and level place during a thunderstorm. It would be a big mistake to hide from a thunderstorm under a lonely tall tree. It just can play the role of that very lightning rod, into which lightning will certainly try to strike. It is also dangerous to use a mobile phone in an open area during a thunderstorm, since this electrical device is quite capable of absorbing a lightning strike.
How does a lightning rod work
It is believed that the lightning rod was invented in 1752 by Benjamin Franklin. But there is also evidence that structures for lightning conduction, similar in appearance and purpose, existed long before that. Most likely, the idea of such a device was found by accident, as is often the case with many useful inventions.
The principle of operation of a lightning rod is quite simple to understand. You just need to understand that during a thunderstorm, large electric charges appear on the planet's surface, leading to the formation of a strong electric field. Its intensity is greatest in pointed conductors, where the so-called corona discharge can occur.
If a metal rod is installed on a building, the charges do not have the ability to accumulate, and therefore a lightning discharge usually does not occur here. In those rare cases, when lightning nevertheless develops, it strikes a metal rod, and the charge goes into the ground. In order for the lightning rod to be most effective, they try to place it as high as possible. The likelihood of an object being struck by lightning increases as it rises. Raised to a sufficiently high height, the rod increases the area under its protection.