What happens to the current when lightning strikes a swimming pool?

In summary, the conversation discusses the effects of lightning striking water and the spreading of current along the surface. The concept of "skin effect" is mentioned as a possible explanation and a link is provided for further information. The topic is deemed interesting and the conversation ends on a positive note.
  • #1
klng
22
0
Hi all,

In response to the above question, i read somewhere before that when lightning strikes a pool, or the sea, the current will dissipate along the water surface. The current will penetrate only to a small depth into the water.

A simple search on Google throws up the simple explanation "The Skin Effect". Lightning is described as a high frequency Alternating current.

Can i have some help to explain - in simple terms - this spreading of current over water surface?In addition, how far on the water surface does the current actually spreads out?

Thanks. Physics Forums rock!
 
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  • #2
Thank you for a most interesting topic!
I recall that lightning charges go up and down between the surface and the thundercloud - quite a large distance - so the frequency is probably way too low for the high frequency skin effect.

But take a look at http://analogengineering.com/lightning/surface.html
It DOES go along the surface of the water. Looks like you could survive a strike by staying underwater. There is quite a good technical explanation there.
 
  • #3
Thanks Delphi 51! Physics forums beat any textbook hands down.
 

Related to What happens to the current when lightning strikes a swimming pool?

1. How does lightning affect the water in a swimming pool?

When lightning strikes a swimming pool, it creates an electric current that travels through the water. This can cause the water to heat up and potentially harm anyone in or near the pool.

2. Can the electric current from lightning in a swimming pool be dangerous?

Yes, the electric current from lightning in a swimming pool can be dangerous. It can cause electric shock, burns, and even death if a person is in the water or touching metal objects near the pool.

3. Is it safe to swim during a thunderstorm?

No, it is not safe to swim during a thunderstorm. Lightning can strike the water and create electric currents that can harm swimmers. It is always best to wait at least 30 minutes after the last thunderclap before entering a swimming pool.

4. How does lightning affect the pool's electrical equipment?

Lightning can also damage the pool's electrical equipment, such as pumps, filters, and lighting systems. The electrical surge created by lightning can overload these systems, causing them to malfunction or even catch fire.

5. What precautions should be taken to protect a swimming pool during a thunderstorm?

To protect a swimming pool during a thunderstorm, it is recommended to have a lightning protection system installed. This system will redirect the electric current from lightning away from the pool and its surroundings. It is also important to stay out of the water and away from metal objects during a thunderstorm.

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