Arch. Myriam B. Mahiques Curriculum Vitae

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The importance of lightning rods or conductors

Some time ago, I posted this shot I´ve taken from the movie The Bride of Frankenstein, and I saw it as an artistic manifestation. Today, I´m thinking about the technical importance of the lightning rods, after reading about the children dead inside a classroom in Uganda. From
¨A lightning rod (USAUS) or lightning conductor (UK) is a metal rod or conductor mounted on top of a building and electrically connected to the ground through a wire, to protect the building in the event of lightning. If lightning strikes the building it will preferentially strike the rod, and be conducted harmlessly to ground through the wire, instead of passing through the building, where it could start a fire or cause electrocution. A lightning rod is a single component in a lightning protection system. In addition to rods placed at regular intervals on the highest portions of a structure, a lightning protection system typically includes a rooftop network of conductors, multiple conductive paths from the roof to the ground, bonding connections to metallic objects within the structure and a grounding network. The rooftop lightning rod is a metal strip or rod, usually of copper or aluminum. Lightning protection systems are installed on structures, trees, monuments, bridges or water vessels to protect from lightning damage. Individual lightning rods are sometimes called finials, air terminals or strike termination devices. The lightning rod was invented by Benjamin Franklin in the Americas in 1749 and, perhaps independently, by Prokop Diviš in Europe in 1754.¨

"Machina meteorologica" invented byVáclav Prokop Diviš worked like a lightning rod.
Wooden church with lightning rods and grounding cables.

Now, the sad news, excerpt from
¨Eighteen schoolchildren and their teacher have been killed in a lightning strike in Uganda, police said.
The country has one of the highest rates of lightning deaths in the world and its capital, Kampala, has more days of lightning per year than any other city, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.
The lightning hit the victims in a classroom at a school in Kiryandongo, 130 miles north of Kampala. Another 38 children were admitted to hospital.
The east African country has suffered several fatal lightning strikes in recent weeks during unseasonably heavy rains.
The deaths were debated in parliament on Monday, with MPs calling on the government to come up with strategy to deal with what several termed "a crisis". (...) Local meteorologists have criticised the government for not providing enough lightning conductors for buildings in storm hotspots.¨
Read the article in full:


  1. Hace no mucho tiempo cayó un rayo en la pileta de natación de un club de los alrededores de BS. AS.. El profesor no tomó la precaución de sacar a tiempo a todos los chicos de la pileta. Apartir de esto se comenzó a hablar mucho en TV sobre pararrayos y parece ser que todos los edificios nuevos tendrían que ponerlo

  2. Hola Norma, conozco los casos de Buenos Aires, y hace varios años ya, a un primo postizo le tocó ver la muerte de un amigo mientras jugaban fútbol en el club alemán. Uno diría, te toca en suerte, pero lo de estos chicos, me ha dejado pasmada. La maestra también ha fallecido, un horror por negligencia.
    Gracias por pasar por mi blog, un beso,



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