Lightning Current Propagation in Electrical Conduit

William Brooks, Micah Lapointe, Landon Collier, John Mankowski, James Dickens, David Hattz, Neil Koone, Andreas Neuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Investigation of lightning strikes to conductors ran through long spans of rigid steel conduit was performed. An overdamped-exponential current waveform with controlled peaks and rise rates was used to inject simulated lightning strikes. The impact of the length of wire, length of conduit, grounding location/s, and load type was investigated. Breakdown of 600 V, 12 AWG, THHN insulated wire (3.23 mm OD, 2 mm conductor diameter) was observed for voltages above 45 kV. The presence of resistive loads (between wire and ground) in excess of 20 Ω or current rise times in excess of 5 kA/ μ s were found to consistently produce breakdown between wire and conduit. Practical power circuit elements such as outlets and splices were found to breakdown at voltage levels much below the wire insulation failure threshold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)132-140
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Breakdown
  • conduit
  • lightning


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