In addition to his famous kite experiment, Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod, having revised several hypotheses through a series of experiments detailed in this article. Through experiments designed to explore the various properties of electricity, Benjamin Franklin also correctly theorized that clouds are electrically charged and that lightning is an electrical discharge that interacts with objects on the ground, especially objects that are tall and thus closer to the thundercloud.
Today’s lightning protection rods are updated technologically but still based on Franklin’s original findings. Lightning Elimination Systems installs traditional lightning rods, also known as Franklin rod terminals, as a component of a comprehensive lightning protection system.A lightning protection system comprises three parts:
- The lightning rod itself, also known as an air terminal, which is fixed on top of any structure that projects into the air. Like early streamer emission terminals, lightning rods are terminals designed to intercept lightning, so if a downward leader approaches from a thundercloud, it will preferably strike the rod.
- The downconductor is a braided or flat strip of copper or aluminum electrically connected to the lightning rod and fixed to the sides of a structure. When lightning strikes, its discharge current travels from the lightning rod to the ground through the downconductor.
- The grounding system directs and disperses the energy of a lightning strike into the earth. Grounding systems also minimize potential voltage increases on the ground to protect buildings, equipment and people from the damaging effects of lightning.