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.
video shows some pretty amazing lightning strikes in slow motion.
RF Cafe began life in 1996 as "RF Tools" in an AOL screen name web space totaling
2 MB. Its primary purpose was to provide me with ready access to commonly needed
formulas and reference material while performing my work as an RF system and circuit
design engineer. The World Wide Web (Internet) was largely an unknown entity at
the time and bandwidth was a scarce commodity. Dial-up modems blazed along at 14.4 kbps
while typing up your telephone line, and a nice lady's voice announced "You've Got
Mail" when a new message arrived...
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