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Lightning protection

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Tom MacIntyre, Jul 5, 2005.

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  1. Hi folks...this was in a baseball newsgroup that I participate in
    (rec.sport.baseball). Faraday cages have been mentioned, implying that
    it could be safe. I don't know that I'd trust this against lightning
    (maybe a Van de Graff generator). What do you think?

    "Just wondering if sitting on a wood bench inside a metal cage (i.e.
    metal on top and 4 sides) is a safe place to be during a lightning
    storm. This is similar to the situation of being in a car (except for
    the rubber tires!). I have seen younger kids wait out a passing storm
    this way and am wondering if it IS in fact safe? What would the effect
    of metal cleats be? I'd appreciate any thoughts from anybody but
    especially from physics teachers/physicists. Thanks!"

    Tom
     
  2. It's a good place to be, but lightning is a bit unpredictable.
    The cage needs to be grounded. If the ground path passes under your feet,
    you could get a voltage differential across the two of them, causing severe
    harm to you.

    Your feet should be on a dry, elevated wood platform. If the wood gets wet
    from rain coming through, there is again the possibility of a voltage
    differential.

    The cage would be electrically equivalent to a Faraday cage, and therefore
    safe, it it was metal on six sides, joined together through low resistance,
    reliable bonds.
     
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