Location: garden-city

If we would:

  • put a 1.5m steel bar, 1m in the ground, 50cm above the ground


  • put a 1.5m steel bar, 1m in the ground, 50cm above the ground BUT fully covering it with 5cm thick wood, so with a very good electric insulation.

The question: Which one would be struckted by lightning with a bigger chance?

Naively, logically I would say it would hit the one WITHOUT the electric insulation. Maybe it would never hit the insulated one?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Air is (in normal circumstances) a good insulator yet the lightning got through that. The voltage is so high that what are normally considered good insulators might not be. $\endgroup$
    – badjohn
    Oct 13, 2019 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ Is that Garden-City Long Island? $\endgroup$
    – Bob D
    Oct 13, 2019 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ Wood is not a great insulator at the best of times, let alone when it's even slightly damp. And lightning (or voltages over 20 kV in general) tend to make the idea of an insulator harder to apply. $\endgroup$
    – ikrase
    Oct 14, 2019 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ so there isn't enough big electrical insulation for lightning? the two mentioned examples would be hit with same chance? $\endgroup$
    – jano4372
    Oct 14, 2019 at 7:21
  • $\begingroup$ garden-citiy: I mean garden suburb, where there is no tall building, just family homes about 30m apart, more green between them. $\endgroup$
    – jano4372
    Oct 14, 2019 at 7:21

1 Answer 1


In the context that you are describing wood, particularly with a moisture content, can be treated as a conductor.
As such the shape of the conductor will be an important fact as the electric field generated around the conductor will be influence as to how "pointed" it is.

If the addition of wood results in less sharp edged on the surface then, all other things being equal, the chances of a lightning strike would be reduced.

  • $\begingroup$ note the pointy rods, electric fields like conducting points ,alibaba.com/premium/… $\endgroup$
    – anna v
    Oct 14, 2019 at 9:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.