The induced electric field due to a current transient

Y. Beck*, A. Braunstein, S. Frankental

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Calculations and measurements of the electric fields, induced by a lightning strike, are important for understanding the phenomenon and developing effective protection systems. In this paper, a novel approach to the calculation of the electric fields due to lightning strikes, using a relativistic approach, is presented. This approach is based on a known current wave-pair model, representing the lightning current wave. The model presented is one that describes the lightning current wave, either at the first stage of the descending charge wave from the cloud or at the later stage of the return stroke. The electric fields computed are cylindrically symmetric. A simplified method for the calculation of the electric field is achieved by using special relativity theory and relativistic considerations. The proposed approach, described in this paper, is based on simple expressions (by applying Coulomb's law) compared with much more complicated partial differential equations based on Maxwell's equations. A straight forward method of calculating the electric field due to a lightning strike, modelled as a negative-positive (NP) wave-pair, is determined by using the special relativity theory in order to calculate the 'velocity field' and relativistic concepts for calculating the 'acceleration field'. These fields are the basic elements required for calculating the total field resulting from the current wave-pair model. Moreover, a modified simpler method using sub models is represented. The sub-models are filaments of either static charges or charges at constant velocity only. Combining these simple sub-models yields the total wave-pair model. The results fully agree with that obtained by solving Maxwell's equations for the discussed problem.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5173-5191
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Physics A: Mathematical and Theoretical
Issue number19
StatePublished - 11 May 2007


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