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Name : Kenneth Tambuwun Section : SPH4U Date : October 30 2012

How Lightning Rod Provides Safety

How lightnings occur Before understanding how lightning rods work, understanding of how lightning occurs is necessary. The cause of any lightning strike is mainly due to the polarization of positive and negative charges in a storm cloud. This happens because as water vapour rises, it collides with the water droplets in a cloud. In the collisions, electrons are ripped off and a seperation between the positive and negative charges occurs. Another cause of lightning strikes is the freezing of rising moisture. The water particles freeze at higher altitudes, causing the frozen particles to tightly pack at the centre of the cluster of the droplets.The frozen region becomes negatively charged and the outer droplets have positive charges. Air currents can take the outer portions (which have negative charge) of the droplets and carry them to the top of the clouds. The frozen portions (which have positive charge) then tends to gravitate to the bottom part of the clouds. Since the bottom part of the clouds have negative charges, electrons near to the Earth`s surface are repelled. Moreover, with the strong static charge in the cloud, it`s electric fields ionize the air into a pool of electrons and positive ions. And then electrons begin to travel in zigzag lines to the positively charged structures near Earth`s surface. As electrons began to travel down, more electrons in the earth`s surface are repelled and the positive charges within structures begin to move up. When the travelling electrons and positive charges meet, that is when the lightning began. Then all the electrons travel down the earth.

Lightning Rods The physics principles used are : According to Benjamin Franklin, he has two theories about the use of lightning rods. The first is the lightning dissipation theory, and it states that lightning rods work by reducing and preventing lightning strikes. It is based upon the fact that electric field strength is stronger around a point object. The second theory is the lightning diversion theory. Lightning rods are used to provide a conductive pathway to Earth. It is usually connected to a copper cable that is grounded to the Earth. As the lightning strikes, the sudden discharge of electrons is safely conducted to the Earth. Thus preventing the damage on the building. Like charges repel, opposite charges attract. Objects with similar charges such as positive charge and positive charge repel each other. On the other hand, objects with different charges like positive charge and negative charge attracts each other. The invention of lightning rods have been very useful economically and socially. Without lightning rods, lightning strikes will damage building more often. With lightning rods, the cost of reparation of the damage can be avoided, thus saving money.Lightning rods are placed on tall buildings and residences. When a lightning strikes a house, it can set the house on fire, also harming the citizens in it. If lightning rods are present on top of houses, casualty can also be prevented.

Works Cited Henderston, Tom. Lightning. Web. 28 October 2012 <http://www.physicsclassroom.com/class/estatics/u8l4e.cfm>