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How nVent ERICO Parts Protect Architect Frank Gehry’s Unique 320,000 Brick Building From Lightning Strikes

Posted by Philip Jones on Aug 21, 2018 8:51:00 AM

Editor's note: This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated to be more comprehensive.

Famed architect Frank Gehry is known worldwide for his unique, contemporary style across a variety of building types. He is best known for designing the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain; Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles; and the Experience Music Project in Seattle, among other famous works.

In 2009, Gehry embarked on his next project: the Dr. Chau Chak Wing Building at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in Australia. The building was part of a $1 billion campus renovation project and Gehry’s first time designing a building in Australia.

The building was completed in November 2012 and came in on budget at $180 million. The structure stands tall at 12 stories high, yet has only one straight column supporting the entire building. Furthermore, the longest unbroken column is only 13.98 meters (45.87 feet).

Built with approximately 320,000 bricks, builders claimed the structure to be a challenge to construct. But another challenge arose even after construction was complete: installing a functional lightning protection system to adequately safeguard such a uniquely designed building. 

Read below to learn how nVent ERICO parts were used in the installation.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

The Science of a Lightning Strike and How to Safeguard Your Facility with a Lightning Protection System

Posted by Martin Havelka on May 22, 2018 8:02:00 AM

Lightning is a random, yet devastating phenomena. Across the U.S., a lightning strikes on average 25 million times per year and occurs at a rate of 100 flashes per second worldwide. And according to the National Weather Service, the average strike has an average magnitude of nearly 30,000 Amps.

While lightning strikes are unpredictable and no location or facility is immune from the threat of a lightning strike, there are ways to reduce the risk or damage. Reducing the risk of damage from a lightning strike, direct or nearby, with the installation of a lightning protection system is not always a part of new construction projects. However, shouldn’t it be?

With modern urban and provincial development, commercial and residential facilities contain valuable digital electronic equipment used for day-to-day work and entertainment functions, meaning large investments are at risk during thunderstorms. A direct lightning strike delivers damaging energy, which even the most robust electrical devices and systems cannot withstand if protection measures are not correctly taken.

Lightning strikes are unpredictable and random events. There is no technology available that can prevent lightning from striking a structure or guarantee 100% protection. Lightning protection is based on statistical probabilities and the risk tolerance of the property owner.

Continue reading below as we uncover the science of a lightning strike, and how you can reduce the likelihood of damage to your facility from lightning.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

Why a Proper Grounding System Is the Key to Effective Lightning Protection

Posted by Brian Liederbach on Apr 10, 2018 8:02:00 AM

Lightning currents inherently want to ground—whether the proper systems are in place or not. A lightning strike, which is intercepted by an air terminal, must have its current transferred to the earth safely and seamlessly. 

The grounding system is the integral part of a modern electrical lightning protection system that must be dependable for this process. 

Without an effective grounding system in place, dangerous ground faults, side flashes and electronic noise can occur, causing damage to structures, fires or personal injury.

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Topics: Lightning Protection, Grounding & Bonding

The Six Point Plan to Achieving Telecom Facility Lightning Protection

Posted by Rohit Narayan on Mar 13, 2018 8:01:00 AM

Lightning is a constant risk. A single direct strike can result in physical damage to buildings and cause catastrophic failure of sensitive electronic equipment. Lightning causes 22,600 fires per year and is the number one natural cause of system failures. As a result, these problems can result in substantial revenue losses.

Telecommunications facilities are particularly at risk of direct lightning strikes—and the electrical surges that ensue—due to their tall stature and complex electrical makeup. 

However, there is a way for engineers to protect telecommunication facilities from the devastating and lasting effects of lightning damage. 

According to Above Ground Level Magazine, engineers can help protect telecom facilities from the dangers associated with lightning strikes using a six point plan of protection. Continue reading below to learn more about these six steps of lightning protection for telecom facilities. 

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Topics: Lightning Protection

A Beginner’s Guide to Lightning Risks and Protection Methods

Posted by Brian Liederbach on Feb 13, 2018 8:03:00 AM

Scientists and scholars alike have had a longstanding fascination with lightning. Of course, the most famous student of this natural phenomenon, Benjamin Franklin, was also one of the first to study and document the dangers and effects of lightning. His research dates back to the 1700s.

Technology and knowledge have evolved since Franklin’s time, when the only method of protection was a simple lightning rod. Today, electrical engineers know the need for full facility lightning protection to defend everything from the structure, to personnel, to valuable electronic equipment, from strikes.

Need a refresher? Read below to learn the basics of lightning risks, as well as common lightning protection methods to lessen damages.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

Fires Caused By Lightning: How to Protect Your Facility

Posted by TJ Gaines on Dec 5, 2017 8:02:00 AM

From 2007 to 2011, it’s estimated that U.S. fire departments responded to an average of 22,600 fires started by lightning per year. While humans cause more fires than lightning, studies show that the devastation of lightning-caused fires is significant. 

The harm of direct lightning strikes is widely known, but recognizing the prominence of fires caused by lightning is equally important to understand, as we can play a role in minimizing them. 

Continue reading to learn how lightning causes fires, and how you can protect your facility from the associated damage.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

How Lightning is Generated and Ways to Protect Your Facility From Risks

Posted by TJ Gaines on Nov 28, 2017 8:09:00 AM

Lightning is one of the most deadly natural phenomena with bolt temperatures hotter than the surface of the sun. As electrical engineers know, lightning can increase personnel injury, equipment downtime, facility fire and other risks. 

While it may be understood that lightning can cause catastrophic damage to facilities, equipment and personnel, there are ways to reduce risks. But before we reduce the dangers associated with lightning strikes, let’s pull back the curtain on the basics of a lightning strike.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

What You Need to Know About Lightning Protection Systems

Posted by TJ Gaines on Sep 19, 2017 8:02:00 AM

Globally, there are approximately 40 to 50 flashes of lightning every second, or nearly one and a half billion annually. Not only is the amount of strikes alarming, but each strike can have between 100 million and 1 billion volts and consumes billions of watts.

Such voltage and frequency cause irreparable personal injury and property damage, as well as unexpected equipment downtime, costly replacements and breaks in the production schedule. Lightning strikes may never be part of the schedule, but creating a defense for your facility with a lightning protection system should be.

In this post, we provide a brief overview of who needs a lightning protection system and the steps required to reduce the risk posed by lightning.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

10 Questions to Consider to Assess Your Need for Lightning Protection

Posted by TJ Gaines on Aug 22, 2017 8:27:30 AM

Around the world, there are approximately 100 lightning strikes each second. Exactly where each will strike is indeterminable, and their occurrence is unpreventable. 

What is in our control, however, is the implementation of lightning protection systems where necessary. Effective systems capture lightning strikes and provide a dependable path for the energy to earth, dissipating it to prevent harm to structures or individuals.

Assess the known risks of lightning in your situation to help you recognize what level of lightning protection is needed to plan for an unexpected strike.

Although no strict rules can be given, it is possible to use broad guidelines to arrive at the degree of protection required. Below are 10 fundamental questions to help you assess your need for lightning protection.

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Topics: Lightning Protection

5 Products for Optimal Wind Turbine Lightning Protection

Posted by TJ Gaines on Aug 8, 2017 8:03:00 AM

Wind turbines provide us with renewable energy that relies on nature, rather than fossil fuels, to reap the benefits. Yet, due to the height of the structures and location, wind turbines can attract lightning that result in fires, downtime and damaged electronics. 

In order to fully gain the rewards of renewable energy produced by wind turbines, engineers must consider a lightning protection system to ward off hazards. Note that due to the height of a wind turbine, proper design and integrity of a grounding grid is imperative. 

A wind turbine grounding system must meet the following three factors to be considered effective:

  • Minimize the equipotential differences
  • Provide sufficient ground reference potential to assure proper functionality and to protect electrical equipment
  • Effectively dissipate lightning energy

Continue reading below to learn about five types of products that help facilitate optimal lightning protection for your wind turbines.

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Topics: Lightning Protection