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Atmosphere 2016, 7(9), 115; doi:10.3390/atmos7090115

Horizontal Electric Field in the Vicinity of Structures Hit by Lightning

Converging Networks Department, Fundacao CPqD, 13086-902 São Paulo, Brazil
Academic Editors: Vernon Cooray and Farhad Rachidi
Received: 24 August 2016 / Revised: 3 September 2016 / Accepted: 5 September 2016 / Published: 9 September 2016
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Abstract

The horizontal electric field at the ground surface in the vicinity of structures hit by lightning flashes is relevant to the safety of human beings and livestock; it determines the touch and step voltages around the structure. This paper uses an approximate analytical formula for calculating the horizontal electric field, which was adapted to take into account the effect of the structure foundation. The input for the calculation is the current waveform at the base of the structure, and the results agree well with those obtained by other authors using the finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method. The approximate formula is applied to calculate touch and step voltages in the vicinity of a structure and the results show that the use of the direct current (DC) approximation to calculate touch and step voltages may lead to significant errors; especially for fast-rising currents and relatively good-conducting soils. This means that DC approximation could be used for positive first stroke and poor-conducting ground (ρ ≥ 1000 Ω∙m), but cannot be used for subsequent strokes and good-conducting ground (ρ ≤ 100 Ω∙m). Moreover, step voltages differ more from the DC approximation than the touch voltages. View Full-Text
Keywords: lightning; electromagnetic fields; step voltage; touch voltage lightning; electromagnetic fields; step voltage; touch voltage
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Barbosa, C.F. Horizontal Electric Field in the Vicinity of Structures Hit by Lightning. Atmosphere 2016, 7, 115.

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