ESE lightning rod, Myth or Miracle?
Author:sanyuan Time:2017-08-09 13:25:09
ESE Lightning Rod: Birth and Development
Since the invention of lightning rod, scientists have been trying to improve its coverage and effectiveness. In 1914, the Hungarian physicist L. Szillard first brought the ESE concept to the public. The whole ESE concept is based on one assumption: if atmosphere near lightning rod tip are ionized/pre-charged before lightning strike, the probability of lightning strike near the rod tip will increase, making the rod more attractive to lightning strikes than ordinary lighting rods.
Due to technological difficulty at that time, the first ESE rods are all based on radioactive materials, utilizing their ionizing radiation to create an ionized space near the ESE rod. By 1990, the use of radioactive ESE rod has been disused by most countries in the world for its potential hazard.
Right now, all modern ESE lightning rods have adopted a new work principle. The modern ESE lightning rod discards the dangerous radioactive material, replacing it with a passive ionizer that activate by thundercloud, to generate ionized space to attract lightning.
ESE lightning Rod: Status
The ESE lightning rod has been developed rapidly in the past 30 years. Since 1995 when experts in France developed NF C 17-102 standard specifically for ESE lightning rod, manufacturers have been springing up in EU, Australia, and New Zealand. Right now, almost all lightning rod manufacturers have their own ESE rod, and the ESE-based lightning rod is becoming a popular choice for lightning protection: In Hong Kong, 70% of installed lightning rods is based on ESE; Malaysia alone has more than 1000 installations of ESE lightning rods, and the number is still growing.
Controversies About ESE Lightning Rods
The controversies of ESE lightning rod have been going for a long time. Due to these controversies, IEC has yet to issue a standard for ESE lightning rods, although most of EU countries have made industrial standards for ESE lightning rods (NF C 17-102, BS 6651, etc.). Some people have been arguing about the necessity of such ESE lightning rod, since enough conventional lightning rod can achieve the same effect as ESE rod can. Others argue about the occasional failure of ESE lightning rod, claiming that ESE lightning rod is no better than conventional lightning rods.
Our View on ESE Lightning Rod
ESE lightning rod is not perfect, but that does not mean we must say no to such a promising new technology. Lightning is a very complex phenomenon that is not fully understood even today. Any existing lightning rod, no matter what its principle is or how it is built, cannot guarantee a 100% protection. In rare cases that a ESE lightning rod fail to protect the installation,
ESE lightning rods have been fully tested in labs across the globe and shown a significantly larger coverage ability than conventional lightning rods. For buildings with a cliffy ridge or other shape that is difficult for construction, or cannot provide enough space for multiple conventional lightning rods, the ESE lightning rod is still a good choice.
Facts speak louder than words. A study shows that, in Hong Kong, 70% of lightning rods installed are ESE type rods that have been installed since the 1970s. The failure rate is less than 1% per year and the main reason of failure was weak lightning discharge. For example, one of these systems that were equipped with a lightning counter showed the total number of lightning discharges onto the system until date is 1266. It clearly proves the effectiveness of the ESE rod.
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