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Burj Khalifa Dubai Lightning Strike - January 11, 2010
Videos for Engineers

RF Cafe Videos for Engineers - Burj Khalifa Dubai Lightning Strike - January 11, 2010 By now you have seen pictures of the Burj Khalifa Dubai - the world's tallest building. It stands 800 meters (2,625 feet) high and has more than 160 stories. A major concern other than earthquakes, high winds and terrorists flying airplanes into it is lightning strikes.

Being the highest point in the area, the designers needed to install a system capable of shunting the energy all the way to ground level and dissipate it safely in the dry, sandy soil. That requires handling typically 1 to 10 billion joules of energy with currents as high as 50,000 amps. Thus far, it has worked well. In the unlikely event that I ever visit the tower, I'll still follow my father's admonition to not touch the light switches or faucet during a storm - just in case...

Lightning rods were first used by Benjamin Franklin to protect the tall building in Philadelphia from catching fire every time a big lightning storm came along. The idea came from his experiments involving flying kites in electrical storms. Contrary to what a lot of people (RF Cafe visitors excluded), Franklin did NOT invent electricity; he proved that lightning was a form of electricity.

RF Cafe Videos for Engineers - Benjamin Franklin's lightning rod systemThis video shows some pretty amazing lightning strikes in slow motion.