Storms are often the bane of television station and boat operators, especially with the threat of damage from lightning strikes. TV station towers and boats’ electronic components are susceptible to lightning strikes, but copper in various forms can help mitigate and even prevent lightning damage. A copper sheet supplier offer coppers in the right specification to help protect against lightning.
Lightning and Television Stations
The television stations serving South Dakota, Nebraska, and Iowa, namely KPTH and KMEG, transmit over 1,000-kW from a single 1988-foot tower, a lightning-prone target. The National Weather Service estimates that the area hosts over 50 thunderstorms annually, and two instances of lightning almost devastated the tower. Compared to other incidents, the hits that the tower sustained in June 2001 and September 2003 were reported to be stronger, with enough energy to incur damage to two reinforced concrete anchors.
To prevent this from happening again, the station revamped its grounding system with a more robust one. Some of the elements were retained, including the two original electrodes, while new elements, like three 80-foot-deep stainless steel electrodes and couplers, were introduced.
These stainless steel electrodes were surrounded by bentonite, a mineral that absorbs ground moisture. All the electrodes were connected with a 250-kcmil tinned-copper ring ground, while all cable connections were made of tinned, solid-copper mechanical connectors. Since the change, there has been no damage to the tower and the ground equipment from the numerous lightning strikes that hit them.
Danger on Boats
Boats are increasingly reliant on electronics for their communication, navigation, and operation needs, making lightning a subject of concern. Not only do boat owners have to face potential immediate dangers, including fires and crew injuries, from lightning strikes; they also have to deal with the threat of losing power and the means to move forward or to navigate, if their electronics are lightning-damaged.
A solution offered by experts is to minimize threats through air terminals, or the metal at the top of the mast. These can serve as part of a lightning rod, attracting lightning that is then safely conducted by a copper cable to the sea. An alternative would be to create lightning dissipators, which would spread out the electrical field so as not to attract a lightning strike, and produce tiny electrical currents instead. As in a lightning rod, copper cables serve as good conductors that can safely carry the electrical currents out to the sea.
Copper can do so much in preventing damages caused by lightning. Those who want to know where to buy copper sheets and other copper forms for their specific needs should look into reputable suppliers like Rotax Metals, who can supply this material in the needed specifications.
Case Study: Added Copper Improves Grounding, Subdues Thunderstorm Threats, Copper Development Association, Inc.
Protecting Against Lightning Strikes, Attainable Adventure Cruising