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RE: Lightning Damage to Structures

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I used to get into it when I worked for a tower manufacturer. When the grounding comes undone, the electric current conducts down the leg of the tower and arcs through concrete foundations, and blows the foundations apart. If the electrical path is continuous to ground (via grounding lugs, wires and ground rods), it is generally not a problem since the electric current is not arcing through the concrete.

It is the arcing through the concrete that causes problems similar to using a burn bar. Other than that, most of the damage is due to the fires that lightning causes.

Most of the research is in mitigation, but here are a couple of web sites:

Harold Sprague

From: "Polhemus, Bill" <BPolhemus(--nospam--at)>
Reply-To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
To: <seaint(--nospam--at)>
Subject: Lightning Damage to Structures
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2006 10:04:38 -0600

Anyone have any expertise in, or KNOW anyone who has expertise in, the
effect of lightning on structures, particularly as a cause of structural

William L. Polhemus, Jr. P.E.
Senior Associate

Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc.
Engineers I Architects I  Material Scientists
10235 West Little York, Suite 245
Houston, Texas 77040
P: 832-467-2177    F: 832-467-2178
http://www <blocked::http://www/>

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