Lightning is a natural phenomenon that has always fascinated and frightened humans. Dozens of people are struck by lightning, hundreds of animals are killed and thousands of fires result causing damage totaling to millions of Euros. On an average one airliner is struck by lightning each year. The long list of damage caused by lightning does end here. In order to study the causes of the energy produced by lightning and their impact on the environment, we will first look into the process of formation of lightning, and then study the energy produced by it. Finally, we will analyze the impact that lightning has on the environment.
[...] positive charges collects at the bottom of the cloud. These charges are trapped under a mass of electrons. The negative charges of the soil, the electrons are repelled by the negative charges of the cloud base. The soil is therefore a positive charge. So there is an imbalance between the electrical charges within the cloud and those of soil. When the accumulated charges become too high, the middle layer of air that acted as an insulator does not prevent charges from joining, resulting in the production of electricity. [...]
[...] The diameter of the lightning channel has been measured, and found to be about two centimeters wide. This reflects the concentration and strength of the energy produced. Electromagnetism Around 44,000 flashes occur around the world every day, (100 flashes per second) generating more than four billion K-watts of energy. The intensity of the energy produced is equivalent to 20000 amperes, and the voltage reaches up to one hundred million volts. If this energy was sold at a penny Kilowatt / hour, it would earn two hundred million Euros per day. [...]
[...] The wide path of lightning produces a warm band (the air temperature reaches about 30000°C along the path of the lightning) that causes a sudden and violent explosion. The surrounding air is compressed (rises sharply in volume) and the air in the duct is dilated. Thunder is caused by a sudden rise in the temperature of air. These shock waves are propagated as sound. A combination of the distance of lightning from the observer, and the shape of the channel, characterizes the perceived noise. [...]
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