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How the tallest buildings in the world cope with lightning strikes

The Empire State Building is struck by lightning about 25 times a year.

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Did you know that the taller the building, the more chances it has to be struck by lightning? For example, the Empire State Building is struck by lightning about 25 times a year. Now, that’s a lot!

To protect these tall buildings from potential danger, engineers use built-in lightning protection. These protectors are called lightning protection systems or LPS.

These systems are equipped with three components: air suspension systems, wiring systems and terrestrial terminal systems. Each of these components has very specific purposes: the first captures incoming lightning, the second redirects the current, and the third sends this current safely to the ground, where it can dissipate.

Air termination systems are usually placed at the highest point of a skyscraper and consist of lightning rods made of conductive metals such as copper or aluminum. How do they work?

What happens when lightning strikes them? What do the other LPS components do? How do they all work together to dispel lightning? What is the rest of the technology that protects tall buildings from lightning? How do all these systems work combined redirecting lighting current in a safe way? We explore all these issues in our video.





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