Triggered Lightning and Some Unsuspected Lightning Hazards
Scientific note no. 15
STANFORD RESEARCH INST MENLO PARK CA
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The paper considers instances of lightning initiated by mans activities. These include the triggering of lightning by high-rise buildings and other tall structures by rockets trailing wires by the column of water thrown up by a depth-charge by the large Apollo 12 rocket by aircraft and by thermonuclear explosions. All the incidents occur when the ambient electric field is some 10,000 volts per meter, and the voltage discontinuity between the conductor initiating the lightning and the adjacent atmosphere is about a million volts. It is pointed out how solid-state devices and microcircuitry, computers, plastics, and electrically composite materials, are all quite vulnerable to the effects of lightning. These components are being increasingly used in aircraft construction and operation. Also, as aircraft become bigger and faster they have a greater propensity to trigger lightning. Therefore it is concluded that the lightning hazard to aircraft operation is increasing.
- Atmospheric Physics