Study of Lightning Safety Distance Using Rolling Sphere Method


The development of a computer program for evaluation of lightning safety distance between the tower and satellite dish is written in M-File MATLAB. The 3-dimensional illustrative graphics model is used to capture better understanding on how lightning protection system (LPS) works. The study of physical length of grounding electrode used on the tower is found to be significantly affecting the grounding system performances where they depend on magnitude of dispersed lightning strikes current and the settling time for the current to completely disperse. The grounding system performance is studied by using lightning impulse current (LIC) generator, simulated in OrCad PSpice software. It is found that the optimum length of vertical lightning rod in LPS is the same with the striking distance. There is no significant improvement is observed in lightning safety distance if the length of vertical lightning rod is higher than striking distance. The lightning strike peak current that has larger magnitude than the withstanding insulation level of specified object causes no physical damage. It is because the lightning safety distance increases when the lightning strike peak current becomes higher. It is also found that the lower grounding impedance generates higher magnitude of dispersed peak current and faster settling time.

Share and Cite:

N. Yahaya and M. Daud, "Study of Lightning Safety Distance Using Rolling Sphere Method," Energy and Power Engineering, Vol. 5 No. 3, 2013, pp. 266-273. doi: 10.4236/epe.2013.53026.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] P. Y. Okyere and E. George, “Evaluation of Rolling Sphere Method Using Leader Potential Concept: A Case Study,” IJME-INTERTECH Conference, 2006, pp. 1-20.
[2] E. M. Thomson, “A Critical Assessment of the US Code for Lightning Protection,” IEEE Transaction on Electromagnetic Compatibility, Vol. 33, No. 2, 991, pp. 132-138. doi:10.1109/15.78350
[3] A. Ametani, H. Morii, T. Kubo and T. Chikaraa, “Impedance Characteristics of Grounding Electrodes on Earth Surface,” Electric Power Systems Research, Vol. 85, 2012, pp. 38-43. doi:10.1016/j.epsr.2011.07.006
[4] S. N. Robert, “Guide for Direct Lightning Stroke Shielding of Substations,” Georgia Power Company, Atlanta, 2007.
[5] A. C. Liew and C. M. Gui, “Performance Assessment of Lightning Shielding Systems,” IEEE Industry Applications Society Annual Meeting, Vol. 2, Seattle, 7-12 October 1990, pp. 1989-1994.
[6] C. Vernon, “Lightning Protections,” The Institution of Engineering and Technology, Stevenage, 2010.
[7] H. Motoyama, “Experimental and Analytical Studies on Lightning Surge Characteristics of a Burial Bare Wire,” IEEJ Transactions on Power and Energy, Vol. 126, No. 5, 2008, pp. 556-561.
[8] M. Gamlin, “Impulse Current Testing,” Lightning Protection Forum, Shanghai, June 2004, pp. 1-7.
[9] M. S. Kamarudin, E. Sulaiman, M. Z. Ahmad, S. A. Zulkifli and A. F. Othman, “Impulse Generator and Lightning Characteristics Simulation Using Orcad PSpice Soft ware,” Engineering Conference, Kuching, 18-19 December 2008, pp. 1032-1037.

Copyright © 2023 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.