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Lightning Protection Design


Lightning is a natural hazard that causes serious economical losses and personal injuries and deaths in many parts of the world. Traditional methods used for protection of ground based facilities and operating systems against the effect of lightning strikes, including use of air terminals, down conductors and grounding systems have not been understood fully well. The increasing reliance on sophisticated and sensitive electronic systems for control of critical functions has created the need to re-evaluate lightning protection design and create new protection systems to compensate for the inadequacy of traditional methods.

The nature of lightning has never changed. But the structures and systems we expose to it, as well as the need for safety and dependability, have changed dramatically. Understanding of the effects of lightning has also grown up as a result of numerous research efforts on the interaction of lightning with systems and structures. This knowledge has not, however, been sufficiently incorporated to ensure uniform and adequate protection of critical functions against damages and upsets caused by lightning.

Lightning Protection System Design (LPS) : LPCI provides design engineering for the

  1. Protection of a structure (industrial plant, high-rise building) against physical damage (fire) by means of an external lightning protection system.

  2. LPCI offers engineering design for the protection of personnel against injury due to touch and step voltages by means of internal lightning protection system.

Lightning Protection Measure Systems (LPMS) : LPCI provides design engineering for the protection of electrical and electronic systems within a structure (industrial plant, high-rise building) to able to reduce the risk of permanent failures due to lightning electromagnetic impulse.

Risk Management (lightning) : LPCI evaluates the risks of loss of life, service, cultural heritage and economic values for a given structure after knowing the permissible upper tolerable limit. Accordingly, the selection of appropriate protection measures – LPS and /or LPMS – would be made to reduce the risk below the tolerable limit by using risk assessment software in compliance with IS/IEC 62305-2. It is a simple, menu driven software developed in C# and the user needs to fill up only his building details.

Lightning Protection Design
Lightning Protection Design for Buildings

Lightning Protection Management Planning: LPCI recommends that to achieve a cost effective and efficient protection system, the design of external and internal (LPS and LPMS) systems should be carried out during the building design stage and before starting the actual construction. This allows LP designer to optimise the use of the natural components of the structure and to choose the best compromise for the cabling layout and equipment location.

Lightning Protection Systems (LPS) Design based on IS requirements

Protecting a building against the direct and indirect effects of lightning is important for the safety of people and equipment in the building.

Rather it is a mandatory requirement in several countries for industrial/commercial and multi-storeyed residential buildings.

Direct lightning in an installation can create fire and explosion as well as cause severe damages to contents of the building.

The new Indian standard IS/IEC 62305 part 1 to 4 published 2015 is based on the international standard IEC 62305 and is a comprehensive standard for protecting building against lightning and its effects.

The standard recommends the users to seek the help of a lightning protection expert with good experience in EMI/EMC as well as civil and electrical construction practices.

LPCI's Lightning Protection Design services are based on the rich experience of the consultants and technical team members as well as the support form the rich knowledge base.

Knowledge about the local regulation as well as hands on experience of installation practices in several countries ensures even complicated design conditions are met.

LPCI had trained more than 1,000 engineers on EMI/EMC and lightning protection systems in several Asian countries during the last 10 years.

Our lightning protection designs can meet the requirements of

  • Indian Standards and Regulations
  • IEC Regulations
  • EN Norms and special regulations of various EU Member countries
  • NFPA Regulations
  • IEEE Standards
  • Standards and Regulations of various Asian countries

Our Designs are well appreciated in

  • Telecom installations and data centre with special EMC requirements
  • Chemical and Petrochemical installations with 'Ex' requirements
  • Multi storied buildings - concrete encased down conductors
  • Substations and Power generation stations
  • Air termination design for solar PV (shading problems of air terminal)

What we take care in the design

  • Air termination mesh and rod suiting the architectural design requirements
  • Concrete embedded down conductors for RCC buildings
  • Calculation of Safety distances for roof mounted electrical apparatus and instruments.
  • Provide accurate calculations for separation distance for each Electrical and Electronic apparatus mounted near the air terminal or down conductor
  • Special equipotential bonding measures based on LPZ concept
  • Shielding measures in the building satisfying EMC regulations
  • Foundation earthing or ring earthing depending upon the foundation design and implementation of insulation measures against water / temperature ingress
  • Earthing system design for electrical apparatus including transformer
  • Spatial shielding measures
  • SPD design and selection deepening on the application and zone of protection STEP and touch potential protection measures
  • Designing of mesh earth for protection of people outside building during lightning

Watch Lightning Protection Design Video

Site-survey: LPCI can audit the plants and buildings as a third party for the effective installation of external and internal lightning protection systems as per national and international standards. It includes document verification, site inspection of LPS and LPMS, corrective action, if any and site-study reporting. The report given by LPCI can be used to claim insurance in case of any problem.

Articles on Lightning Protection Design for buildings

Lightning Protection Design for buildings: Safety Vs Aesthetics

A look at this modern-day construction challenge, which requires the coordination of architects, civil engineers, electrical engineers as well as lighting protecting experts. The purpose of this article is to explain the modern way of protecting the contents of a building against lightning and its associated Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP). Improvement in the current construction techniques is necessary to increase the protection of a building against lightning and its effects. Systems followed in most of the buildings now are unfortunately not meeting the basic or statutory requirements. Implementation of new IS standard for Lightning Protection Design IS/IEC 62305 opens a new topic of discussion, which has been in practice internationally for several decades. Effective protective measures should start from the foundation, and it is not the electrical engineer, but the designers and civil engineers involved in the preplanning of the building who should start and implement the techniques from foundation onwards. The new techniques will not influence the aesthetics of the building while routing the down conductor on the wall as well as improve the efficiency of the building against LEMP. The modern protection techniques avoid routing of down conductors through shafts and will reduce the chance of fire during lightning. This is also the cheapest and efficient way of protection in a new building. Read More

Lightning and Surges: Myths and Facts

Published in IEEMA Journal

Nature’s beauty is pleasant to mankind over the generations. At the same time, its fury is uncontrollable. One cannot forget the devastating tsunami or the hurricane floods which, even the most developed country like America could not able to cope up and asked for help from other countries. Nature’s fury like tsunami and floods occur once in a while but it’s after effects leaves bad memories for a long long time. Through the advancement in science, when we try to take edge over nature in arithmetic progression (like 1,2,3,4 etc), nature gives back strong reply by oeometric progression (like 1,3,9,27 etc). Unfortunately, lightning is a daily phenomenon in many parts of the World, unlike the other nature’s fury. Lightning activity is on the higher scale over the period of years as per the historical reports collected by Metrological departments across the world. There are two major problems due to lightning. One is loss of Human life and the other is loss of property. Damage to electrical and electronic gadgets are the ones due to loss of property. The safety measures to save Human life are out of the scope of this article. Hence in this article, we will discuss about safeguarding electrical and electronic equipments. Read More

Lightning and Surges: Myths and Facts, Part 2

Published in IEEMA Journal

In the first part of the article "Lightning & Surges"- Myths and facts, we had discussed about Disturbance variables - Immunity to Interference, Disturbance variables in Low Voltage networks, What is Surge and how they are caused, Common Myths and facts. In this article, we will discuss in detail about various types of applications and the need for proper selection and recommended installation practices. The proverb "necessity is the mother of invention" comes in handy once again here. Nowadays, irrespective of income levels, buying power of Indians are increasing day by day. Read More

How Secure is your Security Surveillance System from Lightning strikes

Published in Electrical India Magazine

For Essential Services Segment, service-availability is the most important requirement, as is heard a lot about 24“7 service around the company in recent times. What will happen, if coincidentally, there is a threat from mankind (terrorist) and also from the nature (lightning) at the same time and the Security Camera fails to capture the terrorist due to a lightning strike? Keeping this in view, it has been estimated that Rs 30,000 crores will be spent for country’s security over the next few years. Read More

Lightning and Surge Protection Device - Selection Criteria

Published in Communications Today Magazine

Any product selection is based on design parameters. The technical specifications help in identifying technically suitable product at optimum cost. For a safety product like an SPD, over specification will lead to higher cost and lower specification will lead to equipment failure even after the installation of protection devices. Selecting suitable products for the whole industry is a specialist’s job. Risk management companies like Cholamandalam Risk Management Services, Chennai; and LPCI - Lightning Protection Consultants International, Chennai have rich experience in this specialized activity based on risk assessment techniques. Risk assessment helps first in determining whether a particular protection is required for a specific application or not and if required up to what level and the type of protectors that are required. There are different types of protection devices, each catering to a specific application. Most of them fall under the two broad categories of series and parallel type of connection in the circuit.Read More

Lightning Risk Assessment for Effective Risk Management

Published in IEEME Journal

Lightning is one of the biggest threats to mankind and animals apart from property loss. When there is a threat, risk will be there always, which needs to be mitigated. Otherwise there will be damages which results in losses. Due to the enormous increase of the high rise buildings, the risk has only increased to manifold. To address the issue, BIS – Bureau of Indian Standards has recently adopted IEC 62305 as Indian Standard, which means it is IS/IEC 62305 from now on and replaces IS 2309 Code of practice for the protection of buildings and allied structures against lightning. Normally lightning protection is either over designed or inadequately designed most of the times which goes as per the experience of Electrical Consultant/Architect/Contractor. This problem is addressed precisely in IS/IEC 62305 by a simple technique.Read More

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Jafferkhanpet,Chennai (TN) - 600 083,
 Tel: 044- 4380 6348
 E-mail: india@lpci.in

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