# Lightning current simulation in the laboratory - parameters, procedures and test equipment -

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1 Lightning current simulation in the laboratory - parameters, procedures and test equipment - Dipl.-Ing. J. Schönau, Dr.-Ing. M. Naß, CE-LAB GmbH Prof. Dr.-Ing. F. Berger, Ilmenau University of Technology The typical wave shapes and threat parameters of natural lightning discharges are the result of international lightning measurements. They were statistically analysed and defined in different standards. The laboratory simulation of such lightning events is necessary for the dimensioning of protective systems consisting of lightning protection measures and methods for the over-voltage protection. Laboratory techniques of the pulse power application are to differ generally in impulse voltage and impulse current simulations, whereas the lightning stroke is to consider as a current-intensive charge equalisation. Therefore, the standards of the protection against lightning define concrete pulse currents which are to classify in different protection level according to the typical parameters of impact (efficiency of protection). Table 1 describes partial currents of direct lightning strikes with associated parameters. Also other wave-shapes (1/200 µs) are under discussion for the standardisation of the future. Table 1: Typical parameters of lightning discharge currents Among the direct impact of lightning currents also indirect effects can observed during direct or nearby occurred lightning discharges. So called surges were generated in secondary loops and metallic structures because of the mainly inductive coupling close to lightning current carrying conductors. The simulation of this influence is to perform by surge currents with the typical wave-shape of T 1 / T 2 = 8 /20 µs with peak values of some ka up to some 10 ka. For conductor loops with high resistances (open loops) a surge voltage test T 1 / T 2 = 1.2/50 µs is to require. Figure 1 compares typical lightning current wave-shapes (laboratory simulation) with normalised peak values of 10 ka. Figure 1: Typical lightning current wave-shapes

2 The wide range of pulse parameters of the lightning test pulses (some ka up to 200 ka, some ka/µs up to 200 ka/µs, some J/ up to 10 MJ/ ) demands different principles and techniques of the impulse generation. The necessity of impressed test currents gives a special feature for the lightning current simulation in the laboratory. The Ilmenau University of Technology has developed in the past years different impulse generators for the lightning current simulation which are serviced and operated together with the test lab of the CE-LAB GmbH. Figure 2: Schematic view of the high-current pulse generator Because of the most double exponential wave-form, the generation of the lightning current test pulses is to realise according to the principle of the capacitor discharge in a damped oscillating circuit (R-L-C). The major pulse generator of the TU Ilmenau (Fig.1) haves a sum capacitance of 10 mf and operates with a maximum charging voltage of 10 kv (stored energy of 500 kj). The very high values of current steepness and amplitude are only to obtain by a very low inductive generator design. The coaxial arrangement of the capacitor bank around a circular wave duct (Z W = 2 ) permits a self-inductance of about 200 nh. trigger SG R1 L um charging unit Uch = 40 kv max Cs sc, earthing R2 R3 EUT Figure 3: Principle circuit of a pulse generator for 8/20 µs wave-shapes Figure 3 shows a test circuit for the generation of 8/20 µs impulse currents with peak values up to 100 ka. im

3 Lightning current simulation in the laboratory - parameters, procedures and test equipment - Dipl.-Ing. J. Schönau, Dr.-Ing. M. Naß CE-LAB GmbH Ilmenau, Test-Lab Prof. Dr.-Ing. F. Berger, Ilmenau University of Technology Department of Electrical Apparatus and Switchgear 1. Parameters of lightning discharges natural process and standardization 2. Lightning current tests, test procedures and typical effects 3. Generation of test currents for the simulation of direct and indirect effects 4. Short presentation of some investigations and testing tasks 1. Parameters of lightning discharges natural process Negative multiple lightning downward flash First stroke current 1

4 1. Parameters of lightning discharges natural process Negative multiple lightning downward flash Subsequent stroke current 1. Parameters of lightning discharges natural process Negative multiple lightning downward flash Rectangular impulse current 2

5 1. Parameters of lightning discharges natural process Direct lightning impulse currents Coupling of indirect effects main supply distribution loops inductive coupling potential equalization partial currents voltage drop Lightning surge current: T1/T2 = 8/20 µs 1. Parameters of lightning discharges standardization Lightning current parameters acc. to EN/IEC Mainly the current peak values and the integral parameters (W/R, Q, steepness) are defined in the standard. Current wave shapes are only recommended! - The parameters are graduated in three steps acc. to the lightning protection level respectively the claim of protection. - The surge current 8/20 µs is specified in different international standards like EN/IEC Protection against lightning or EN/IEC Surge protective devices. 3

6 2. Lightning current tests, test procedures and typical effects Effect of lightning discharges: impulse voltage or current impulses? - After the first development of the discharge, the lightning stroke is to consider as a very current-intensive charge equalization. - Therefore, lightning impulse investigations in the laboratory are to differ in 2 objects: a) impulse voltage experiments lightning impact, electric strength.. b) current impulse experiments current carrying capability, current behavior.. - Because of technical and physical limits, the simultaneous simulation of all lightning parameters and effects in the laboratory is not possible! Typical lightning current effects are: a) thermal effects, heating b) electrodynamic effects, forces c) sparking and origin of fire d) melting and destruction of materials e) critical voltage drops and disturbance currents 2. Lightning current tests, test procedures and typical effects The different test currents are to distinguish by there typical threat parameters (W/R, Q, di/dt). The wide range of pulse parameters of the lightning test impulses demands different equipment for the pulse generation. Therefore, the lightning current tests are to realize acc. to the concrete task of the investigation. L impulse currents normalized on 10 ka ms effects pulse parameters lightning test currents a) thermal effects, heating highest pulse energy, highest peak values first stroke current b) electrodynamic effects, forces highest peak values, current-time-area first stroke current c) sparking, origin of fire highest peak values, dwell time first stroke, long duration current d) melting and destruction of materials highest charge, dwell time long duration current e) voltage drops and disturbance currents highest steepness subsequent stroke current 4

7 3. Generation of lightning test currents High-current pulse generator - simulation of the first stroke current, direct effects - Charging voltage: U ch = 10 kv charging device P = 17 kw Storage capacitance: C s = 10 mf charge Q = 100 As energy W = 500 kj Typical impulse current: waveform T 1 /T 2 10/350 µs peak value, up to 200 ka specific energy 10 MJ/ Construction: extremely low-inductive generator design L g = nh due to a coaxial arranged wave duct Damping resistance: high-capacity resistors R d = 1 0,05 3. Generation of lightning test currents High-current pulse generator - simulation of the first stroke current, direct effects - - formerly designed as NEMP-generator, characteristic wave impedance Z w = 2, highest current steepness by 2 -termination of the wave duct (I max = 5 ka with U max = 10 kv, T 1 /T 2 = 100ns/10ms, R d = Z w ) - function as aperiodic damped resonant circuit with a very flexible arrangement, R-C-(L) are variable in a wide range - the dumping switch is pneumatic operated, radial designed and very efficient - the linking with other test equipment (long duration current generator) is possible 5

8 3. Generation of lightning test currents Photographic view of the high-current pulse generator Investigations: mechanical effects, resistive heating and melting, sparking, effects of electrodynamic forces, thermal damages on the attachment point, inductive coupling view from the back side in the hollow Tests: arresting / connecting components, surge protective devices, overvoltage arresters, coupling loops, cables, constructive arrangements and materials 3. Generation of lightning test currents Smaller mobile lightning current generator Current monitor Trigger unit Storage capacitance Charging unit Total weight appr. 280 kg Charging voltage: U ch = 10 kv Storage capacitance: C = 500 µs energy, charge W = 25 kj, Q = 5 As Typical impulse current: waveform T 1 /T 2 = 10/350 µs peak value I peak = 10 ka specific energy W/R = 25 kj/ Impulse voltage: waveform T 1 /T 2 = 1/3000 µs peak value U peak = 10 kv 6

9 3. Generation of test currents for the simulation Simulation of the long duration current direct effects Motor-generator set Equivalent circuit circuit closing disconnector breaker switch gyrating Schwungmasse Erregung excitation mass + M G 3~ 5 t kv 900 V 350 kw 300 kw OFF AUS 2 EIN ON 1...mH... R M u M LB Arc i M Steuereinheit control unit Investigation and tests: melting effects on the lightning attachment point, heating on root points of arcs, origin of flammable temperatures and fire Trigger unit 3. Generation of test currents Generation of the surge current indirect effects Charging unit Surge capacitance Total weight approximately 350 / 630 kg Impulse forming circuit Charging voltage: U ch = 40 kv Configuration: two stages Surge capacitance: C = 19.5 µf / 39 µf charge Q = 0.88 As / 1.76 As energy W = 16.7 kj / 33.4 kj Typical impulse current: waveform T 1 /T 2 = 8/20 µs peak value I peak = 50 ka / 100 ka Impulse voltage: waveform T 1 /T 2 = 1.2/50 µs peak value U peak = 40 kv Design: mobile generator Function: combination wave generator Investigation and tests: surge protective devices (SPD) and overvoltage arresters 7

10 4. Short presentation of some investigations and testing tasks Example 1: Effects on mounting components of overhead lines Testing cabin Output terminal of high-current pulse generator Performance of the test: Repeated stress with the test level H (3 times, 100 ka 10/350 µs) Test current wave shape i(t) Tightener Clamp Current path during the test Impression of the lightning first stroke test current Specific energy W/R (t) 4. Short presentation of some investigations and testing tasks Example 1: Effects on mounting components of overhead lines sparking Typical effects of the pulse current stress F electrodynamic force 8

11 4. Short presentation of some investigations and testing tasks Example 2: Melting effects on earth wires due to long duration current arcs Mounted earth line A high length of the test arc is necessary to reach of real results (l min = 5 cm)! Input of the long duration current over an arc electrode with ignition wire long duration currents over 10 cm arcs 4. Short presentation of some investigations and testing tasks Example 2: Melting effects on earth wires due to long duration current arcs Results in function of the load parameters: 200 A 0.5 s, 100 C 3 single wires damaged 300 A 0.5 s, 150 C 4 single wires damaged 400 A 0.5 s, 200 C 4 single wires damaged 9

12 4. Short presentation of some investigations and testing tasks Example 3: Lightning pulse current investigations on metal roofs High current pulse generator Testing cabin Output terminal Measurement equipment Inspection window High speed camera Lightning current laboratory Measurement equipment 4. Short presentation of some investigations and testing tasks Example 3: Lightning pulse current investigations on metal roofs Output terminal of the pulse generator h = 2 m Impression of the first stroke test current Model of the metal roof a = 1 m Current flow trough the undefined contacts of the metal roof t = 0,5 m b = 1,5 m Return connector 10

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