20
votes
1answer
1k views

Is it possible to overload a lightning rod?

A couple of weeks ago we had a big storm roll through the Chicago area. I watched as the city's skyscrapers were struck multiple times by lightning throughout the night and told my coworker about it ...
0
votes
1answer
22 views

Natural electricity in the atmosphere - lightning

If air is such a poor electrical conductor, how can lightning be produced that appears to travel through it?
2
votes
1answer
28 views

Protect drone from lightning [closed]

I am designing a dirigible, robotic drone. It is basically a polyurethane airship, approx 3.6 m length and 2.1 m diameter. I am worried about lightnings: as far as I know, a Faraday Cage should be ...
3
votes
1answer
111 views

Do high voltage power lines attract lightning strikes?

I always thought that high voltage power lines would attract a lightning strike more than other structures in the same area. Turns out I was wrong. My neighbor's chimney got struck by lightning and it ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

Electricity from lightning

According to the internet, a lightning strike contains about 5 billion joules or 5 GJ. How was this calculated? Another thing: Once the lightning strike a metal grounded rod, a current will flow. ...
8
votes
5answers
889 views

Why does lightning emit light?

What exactly is causing the electric discharge coming from the clouds to emit light while traveling through the air. I've read and thought about it a little but with my current knowledge I cant really ...
2
votes
3answers
228 views

How much iron ware to make a Faraday cage

In a thunderstorm I was thinking the following: suppose I am rowing in a lake during a thunderstorm. How big a Faraday cage do I need to make to protect myself? If lightning strikes the cage, will it ...
5
votes
1answer
813 views

Does rubber insulate lightning more effectively than air?

Last week, an Ars Technica writer was struck by lightning. He says that the 911 operators were concerned about whether or not he was wearing shoes at the time, but he didn't think it would make much ...
0
votes
1answer
64 views

Lightning and Charge Displacement

There is something I don't really understand about flashes of lightning. When a flash occurs, how come electricity be transferred at the speed of light since electricity's displacement is very slow ? ...
3
votes
0answers
43 views

Nature of electricity [duplicate]

Suppose a lightning strikes and there is an iron rod and a coconut tree. How does the electricity know that rod is the least resistant path before hand.
4
votes
2answers
620 views

How does lightning “know” where to go?

If lightning comes down in, say, a large flat field with a lightning rod sticking out of the middle, the lightning will strike the rod. How does it "know" the rod is there? Will it always strike the ...
2
votes
2answers
335 views

Lightning driven electrolysis

Could a lightning bolt be harnessed to perform electrolysis, would a useful amount of hydrogen be produced? I'm imagining some industrial scale device in the ocean with some hydrogen capture ...
11
votes
2answers
3k views

Does Fire Conduct Electricity? Why?

Recently, I have stumbled upon a YouTube video by Veritasium describing the conductivity of fire. My question is: how exactly does fire conduct electricity? I am a high school student; therefore ...
3
votes
2answers
7k views

Can Gases conduct Electricity?

Liquid electrolytes ionize and hence a current can pass through them. So if a gas can ionize, can it conduct electricity too? If so, what are a few such gases?
1
vote
1answer
173 views

Loopy lightning

What causes lightning to follow the path it does ? picture from BBC news: http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/62891000/jpg/_62891901_untitled-1copy.jpg main page: ...
3
votes
5answers
5k views

Can the lightning be captured and used as power source?

I would like to update my knowledge in this area, that is really out-of-dated and stopped somewhere like ten years ago. I asked the very same question on my physics lecture at my studies and got the ...
23
votes
1answer
859 views

Can lightning be used to solve NP-complete problems?

I'm a MS/BS computer science guy who is wondering about why lightning can't (or can?) be used to solve NP complete problems efficiently, but I don't understand the physics behind lightning, so I'm ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Can energy be extracted from clouds?

Can cloud charge imbalance be used as an energy source? First off quite some energy must be present in clouds: a lightning path is quite long, and electrical breakdown of air requires about 1MV/m. ...
3
votes
1answer
23k views

How much energy is in a lightning strike?

According to Wikipedia an average lightning has 1TW, the whole world used 16TW in 2006. (I suppose this means the same as 16TWh in one year?) Sometimes the lightning reaches 100kA. This peak last for ...
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Tying knots in power cables to prevent power surge from lightning strikes

There are plenty of references to this claim on the internet that tying knots in power cables will prevent a piece of equipment e.g. television or computer from a power surge. How can this be ...
4
votes
2answers
438 views

Algorithm of Lightning Strikes? [duplicate]

Given an array of charge for a given area (2D or 3D), what algorithm would describe the path that lightning takes? An example algorithm would be from the highest charge of the cloud, find the lowest ...
1
vote
0answers
148 views

Can the lightning be scattered with out hitting the ground? [closed]

Can we scatter the lightning before it hits the ground?Can we scatter the lightning by connecting many wires to a lightning rod?
21
votes
6answers
10k views

Lightning strikes the Ocean I'm swimming in - what happens?

I'm swimming in the ocean and there's a thunderstorm. Lightning bolts hit ships around me. Should I get out of the water?