System reliability and surges

Towle, L. C.
June 2004
InTech;Jun2004, Vol. 51 Issue 6, p57
This article focuses the protection of process plant instruments from lightning-induced surges. Geographical location is the principal factor to determine the probability of a lightning strike. Almost all industrial plants have tall chimneys or pieces of equipment effective in attracting lightning. Usually plants reside in flat areas and are frequently the highest point for some distance. The proximity of power lines, railway tracks and pipelines all appear to be other factors influencing lightning strikes. The principal cause of instrument damage is lightning current flowing through a structure and creating significant differential voltages across the instrumentation loop. The voltages then cause an insulation failure, allowing part of the lightning current to flow through the circuit and damaging the circuitry. The conventional lightning protection used influences the probability of where the lightning will strike the plant and the flow of the current through the structure. However, whatever lightning protection system people use, the lightning current must flow through the structure. And transient voltage differences the inductance of the structure causes will always occur.


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