Friday, March 2, 2007

Car hit by lightning

Here's a video clip I extracted from an episode of Top Gear. Watch as man made lightning hits a car... and not a single damage is done to it, or to the man inside!

Can't see the video? Click here to view:

What can we learn from this?
  • Almost everything can conduct electricity. The lightning pass through air, through the cars, through the rubber tires and onto the ground.
  • It's not 100% right to say only conductors can conduct electricity then; rather, conductors have low resistance while insulators have very high resistance to electricity.
  • To overcome that high resistance of the air, a high voltage is required.
  • The car can be considered a complex circuit of various resistors (body, tires, seats inside, engine etc). However, current will flow through the path of least resistance (think shunting/shortcircuiting of circuit)
  • Same theory is applied to lightning rods on buildings, lightning protection on airplanes, on containers of flammable fluid etc.

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