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In today’s world of technology, machinery and other computerized equipment, electricity (Electric Power) is humanity’s most useful form of energy. It serves almost every home, store, farm, factory, commercial, residential, and industrial structures around the world.

In the home, electricity provides light and supplies heat in electrical stoves, toasters, and irons.  It furnishes the power to run refrigerators, radios, television sets, vacuum cleaners, air conditioners, and other appliances.  In farms, electric machines pump water, grind feed, dry hay, milk cows, separate cream from milk and churn butter.  Stores depend on electricity to run elevators and escalators.  Electric power runs nearly all factory equipment including giant lathes and huge furnaces.  In short, electricity is the energy that is used in almost all equipment in order to increase productivity, efficiency, comfort, and thus, reduce unnecessary wastage of human energy.  (The World Book Encyclopedia, 1984).

All that have been mention above are the benefits that electricity has brought to mankind.  However, if electricity is not applied correctly, it could cause harmful damages to properties, equipment, and could even injure human lives.  In the Unites States alone, it is estimated that electrical damage to equipment was over 1 Billion annually; this is still excluding the amount of opportunity lost due to business downtime.  Therefore it is extremely important to incorporate safety measures to overcome these hazardous effects.

Electricity per se is not a source of power.  Electric plants burn coal or other fuel to make steam.  In turn, this steam furnishes the energy to run generators that produce energy.  Other sources of energy are hydroelectric and nuclear power stations.  However, aside from electricity generated from these sources, there is also electricity that can be sourced from the dry moving air from the atmosphere.  This type of electricity can neither be tapped, stored nor used.  This electric current often causes destruction as mentioned in the previous paragraph.  It is commonly known as “LIGHTNING” This will be the main subject of this website as well as the different products that are needed in order to provide safety from the hazardous effects of this phenomenon.

 
   
  HOW CAN STRUCTURES BE PROTECTED FROM LIGHTNING STRIKES?

Lightning strikes have been a dominant force towards properties and equipment destruction around the world and especially in tropical countries like the Philippines where an average of 300 tropical storms visit annually.  Thus, as have been mentioned earlier, it is extremely important to set up safety measures in order to protect our properties and to prevent costly damage.

Over the years, the most traditional and basic design of protecting structures from the harmful effects of lightning were through the installation of Franklin Rods, named after its inventor Benjamin Franklin.  This is also widely known as the conventional type of lightning protection system.  These rods are installed on top of structures and are interconnected using traditional copper conductors forming a cage like structure.  This design was popularly known as the Faraday Cage.

The basic element of this traditional set-up are as follows: 

  1. The Finial Point or Air Terminals (Franklin Rods).  These terminals do not attract lightning but merely serves as entry points where the lightning current can be discharge into the ground once it is hit by lightning.  
  2. The DOWNCONDUCTOR. These are actually bare copper wires that connect the air terminals to the grounding system.  These conductors act as the roads through which the electrical current passes in order for it to be discharged into the ground.  And lastly, 
  3. A Grounding System.  This system plays a vital role in the lightning protection system as it serves as the exit chamber through which electric current is discharged safely into the Earth.

Over the years, this set-up has been used in order to protect structures from lightning.  During those periods, this type of system was sufficient as structures did not exceed 15 meters in height and there were basically no equipment to be protected from electrical discharges.

Today however, with the advancement in science and technology, the construction of buildings (structures) exceeding 300 meters have become possible.  Also, we are entering an age where more and more electrical and computerized equipment are used in our daily jobs.  With this advancement, it definitely follows that a more advance and comprehensive system be used in order to protect structures and properties as years of research have shown that the conventional system do have limitations.

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Introduction to the use of the EF Carrier System of Lightning Protection & SPD.swf (1.6mb)

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