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International Journal of Antennas and Propagation
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 318417, 7 pages
Modeling of Lightning Strokes Using Two-Peaked Channel-Base Currents
Faculty of Electronic Engineering, University of Nis, Aleksandra Medvedeva 14, 18000 Nis, Serbia
Received 15 September 2011; Revised 6 January 2012; Accepted 8 February 2012
Academic Editor: Andres Peratta
Copyright © 2012 V. Javor. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Lightning electromagnetic field is obtained by using “engineering” models of lightning return strokes and new channel-base current functions and the results are presented in this paper. Experimentally measured channel-base currents are approximated not only with functions having two-peaked waveshapes but also with the one-peaked function so as usually used in the literature. These functions are simple to be applied in any “engineering” or electromagnetic model as well. For the three “engineering” models: transmission line model (without the peak current decay), transmission line model with linear decay, and transmission line model with exponential decay with height, the comparison of electric and magnetic field components at different distances from the lightning channel-base is presented in the case of a perfectly conducting ground. Different heights of lightning channels are also considered. These results enable analysis of advantages/shortages of the used return stroke models according to the electromagnetic field features to be achieved, as obtained by measurements.
One of the key issues in research of environmental electromagnetic interference with electric systems, electronic devices and equipment inside imperfectly enclosed structures, so as with power and communication lines, is modeling of lightning discharges. An adequate EMC simulation would include wide variety of modeling parameters such as various initial and boundary conditions, excitation types, ground electrical properties and different configurations of the observed systems. Rapid advance in EMC modeling and computation due to development of numerical procedures programs and computers in last few decades partly replaced expensive and cumbersome building and testing of appropriate prototypes, so as some experimental procedures. Although measurements are nowadays carried out for triggered lightning and at instrumented tall towers throughout the world, the most referred and comprehensive measurement results for natural lightning are given in [1–3].
According to  lightning stroke models are classified into physical (gas-dynamic) models, electromagnetic models, “engineering” models, and distributed-circuit theory models. Models based on the full-wave approach take into account radiation effects for the treatment of electromagnetic wave propagation problems. “Engineering” models use simplified approach with respect to the current distribution along the lightning channel, but electromagnetic field is determined based on the same relations as for electromagnetic models. In fact, all these models enable approximate analysis of lightning electromagnetic field and its coupling to systems or devices, due to a wide variety of conditions accompanying this natural phenomenon. There are various classifications of models given in the literature, for example [4, 5], and, besides, a certain model can belong to more than one class.
Many researchers are focused on comparison of different “engineering” models using the same channel-base current, but the influence of an implied current waveshape itself on lightning electric and magnetic field components is not investigated, as to the author’s best knowledge. Both the selected model and channel-base current waveshape determine lightning electric and magnetic field results to be compared with experimentally obtained waveshapes at different distances from the channel base. Compliance with some measurements results, as, for example [1–3], is important for the validation of models.
If the new two-peaked channel-base current function  is used, it is possible to obtain some of the features that a certain model would not give with the one-peaked current waveshape as in [7, 8] or with the one-peaked current as usually used in the literature [9, 10], and so forth. If using  at least two terms are needed to obtain theoretically assumed current  having one initial and a subsidiary peak . However, for experimentally measured currents as at Monte San Salvatore [1, 3] seven terms are needed in the linear combination of Heidler’s functions, as gevin in . This was used for calculations of lightning induced overvoltages at power transmission lines in . The same number of terms was used in  for approximating experimentally measured currents at the Morro do Cachimbo station . The adequate parameters of the new two-peaked channel-base current function are given in this paper for these two, and also for the one-peaked function  approximating the first negative stroke channel-base current .
A function having similar mathematical expression to given in  can be used to include even more peaks in the current waveshape. It is demonstrated that such obtained lightning electric and magnetic fields results at different distances perform some features of experimental results. A review of new functions is given in  for representing IEC 62305 standard currents  and other typical lightning stroke currents. These functions are suitable for use in both “engineering” and antenna theory models  to approximate the excitation at the channel base.
2. First Negative Stroke Channel-Base Currents
A negative first-stroke channel-base current is characterized with emphasized peaks (an initial and a few subsidiary peaks). The function including two peaks in the rising part can be approximated with the following analytical expression : The number of terms , and is selected according to the desired accuracy of approximation. Parameters of the current function are , and the weighting coefficients are , so that . The initial peak is obtained at , and the subsidiary peak at (Figure 1). For the analytical expression (1) parameters to represent median characteristics of channel-base currents measured at Monte San Salvatore  and at the Morro do Cachimbo station  are given in Table 1.
In order to compare the results of calculations to results from the literature, parameters of the one-peaked NCBC current function are calculated to represent channel-base current from , as used in  and a number of papers.
NCBC function (2) approximates the waveshape from  presented with dots in Figure 2. Parameters for NCBC function, presented with the full line in Figure 2, are calculated as the following: kA, μs, , , and . The waveshape from  is often used in the literature for lightning negative strokes modeling.
3. “Engineering” Models of Lightning Strokes
Thin wire representation of a lightning channel at the perfectly conducting ground is presented in Figure 3. An “engineering” model assumes an impulse current, propagating along the channel with a current-wave propagation speed and the speed of the return stroke, presented with where is the Heaviside function and the height- and time-dependent current attenuation factor. In the transmission line (TL) model this factor is , so the current is propagating along the channel without attenuation. In the transmission line model with linear decay (MTLL), for the height of the observed current element above the ground, the attenuation factor is for the assumed channel height . In this paper is chosen to be 2600 m or 7500 m. In the transmission line model with exponential decay (MTLE) is , for the decay constant m chosen in , so as in this paper. For all the three models ms−1, as in , is taken for obtaining results in this paper.
The current in (3) is the channel-base current to be approximated with one- or two-peaked pulse functions, as presented in Figures 1 and 2. All the results for vertical electric and azimuthal magnetic field are presented for points at the ground surface. There are no other electric or magnetic field components at the ground surface due to for the lower half-space (Figure 3). Above the ground other electromagnetic field components exist, but measurements results are usually given for the points very near to the ground surface.
For MTLL model the current at the end of the channel (for ) is equal to zero. The consequence is that the interrupt of the channel does not produce a spike in the waveshapes of far electric and magnetic fields. For MTLE model, the degree of attenuation depends on the value of constant . The higher the value of λ, the less the current is attenuated, and vice versa.
4. Results for Lightning Electromagnetic Field
In the upper half-space electric field has both vertical and radial component, and magnetic field just azimuthal component, whereas other field components are equal to zero in the case of perfectly conducting ground. Vertical electric field at the field point M(r, ψ, z), as in Figure 3, can be calculated as and radial electric field as whereas azimuthal magnetic field is for the distance from the current element of length , with the current or its image in the plane mirror replacing the influence of the lower perfectly conducting half-space, to the field point . In (6), is the speed of light, is the permittivity and the permeability of the air.
For MSS_FST current from , approximated with , and the same three models, vertical electric field results are presented in Figures 7–9, for two different channel heights (2600 m and 7500 m), and for the distances 50 m, 5 km, and 100 km from the channel base.
For MCS_FST current from , approximated with , lightning electric and magnetic field results are also obtained, but being similar to the waveshapes of MSS_FST, as can be concluded from Table 1, these are not included in this paper.
Azimuthal magnetic field results are presented for the one-peaked NCBC function in Figures 10, 11, and 12, and for the approximation of MSS_FST with the two-peaked current function in Figures 13, 14, and 15, for the distances 50 m, 5 km, and 100 km from the channel base, and for the two different channel heights.
Some main features of lightning electromagnetic field waveshapes given in [4, 5, 19] are: a sharp initial peak in both electric and magnetic fields beyond a km or so, a slow ramp following the initial peak for electric fields within a few tens of km, a hump following the initial peak in magnetic field within a few tens of km, a zero crossing within tens of microseconds after the initial peak in both electric and magnetic fields at 50–200 km, and a characteristic flattening of vertical electric field at tens to hundreds of meters.
It can be concluded from these results that magnetic field at a few tens of meters follows the channel-base current waveshape. The feature is valid for all the models, and a slow ramp is obtained with TL model after tens of microseconds, so as with other models. A hump mentioned as the feature is obtained at 5 km with TL and MTLE model, whereas for NCBC just with TL model. A zero crossing mentioned as is obtained for far fields with TL model also, so as with others. The characteristic flattening is obtained with TL model calculated for smaller channel heights. Some of these features are not obtained for all the models if a one-peaked channel-base current is used.
New functions for approximating one- and two-peaked lightning channel-base current waveshapes are used in this paper. Parameters of these functions are calculated for the measured channel-base currents, so as for the current waveshape often used in the literature. Similarly derived functions can be used to approximate even more peaks in the current waveshapes which are characteristic for the measured negative first-stroke currents.
The three different “engineering” models (transmission line model, transmission line model with linear decay, and transmission line model with exponential decay with height) are used for calculating lightning electromagnetic field. These results enable analysis of the models efficiency and validity. In this analysis transmission line model with linear decay proved to have some advantages over other two models if a double-peaked channel-base current is used.
The new one- and two-peaked channel-base current functions also have analytically obtained derivatives and integrals, so as Fourier transforms which are very useful for electromagnetic modeling and for application in frequency domain [20, 21]. The next step would be including more peaks in the rising part of the channel-base current to comply better with measurements results of channel-base currents and lightning electromagnetic field components.
This paper is supported by the Project Grant III44004 (2011–2014) financed by the Ministry of Education and Science, Republic of Serbia.
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