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  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Meriadoc View Post
    Nice resource Owl. Thanks for linking it.

    <SNIP>

    (1) Distance from the ground should minimize ground current problems.
    Clouds are further from the ground than a hammock is, yet lightning seems to make it's way down pretty well...
    Quote Originally Posted by Meriadoc View Post
    Does anyone know how well amsteel conducts electricity? I am guessing not very well.
    If it's raining, it will conduct electricity quite well. Wood doesn't conduct electricity worth a flip, but that doesn't keep trees from being one of lightning's favorite targets.

    What I'm looking into right now (in addition to that whole keeping the rig's DGPS's working thing) is finding out what will happen to a polyester rope when massive current is run through it. I suspect it will either explode from flash boiling water or burst into an explosion like flame that lasts less than a half second.

    Quote Originally Posted by Meriadoc View Post
    Because what could be a problem is if there is a greater exposure to voltage differential because of the horizontal orientation of the body. Conducting through the length of the body would be bad.
    Agreed. LightEning a hammock good, lightning through a hammock bad.


    For some reason, I'm reminded of the old Mr Wizzard show where he cooked a hotdog by running 120VAC through it... Or my high school physics lab where I exploded a pickle running 480VAC through it trying to make a sodium light... (I was, eventually, successful at producing a glowing pickle...)

  2. #12

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    "What I'm looking into right now (in addition to that whole keeping the rig's DGPS's working thing) is finding out what will happen to a polyester rope when massive current is run through it. I suspect it will either explode from flash boiling water or burst into an explosion like flame that lasts less than a half second."

    I'm not sure who you are talking to but I would think any company making high voltage insulators, big power distribution companies with their own labs, and big lightening protection manufacturers could all answer your question. Lapp Insulator has some stuff on line. I did not dig deeper. OTOH you might get a 20 min phone chat with an engineer if you had a list of questions. Worst they can do is tell you to bugger off. ;-)

  3. #13
    Senior Member dammfast's Avatar
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    I agree with some of what's been said above. First I am not sure the webbing or rope would be considered tied together, that electricity will take the path of least resistance. I can not fathom the nylon or poly conducting better than the tree. Next thing on my list is to think about the fact that most people " struck" by lightning are killed by the bolt that hit near them. Think you would be better off , off the ground.

  4. #14
    Pag's Avatar
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    It's kind of amazing how many electrical "laws" don't apply to lightning. I had an instance where an antenna was struck being recorded by high speed and the field induced secondary strikes (from object to object, neither involved in initial strike) caused more damage than the initial hit. The funny part to me was the fact that several of the secondary strikes came from non conductives.

    I have a friend who says physics is too scared of lightning to enforce laws

    Another question is why do the control stations of wind farms (11' tall) get struck more often than the wind mills (120').

    My personal answer, lightning is like an angry woman, thinking about it will confuse you more.

    *edit - meant to say that if you're close enough to a strike, tent or hammock, you're in the same boat - up the same creek, without the proper tool.
    Last edited by Pag; 04-07-2012 at 20:43.
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  5. #15
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  6. #16
    Senior Member Meriadoc's Avatar
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    Thanks for picking up some of the links; I read through these. Wise Old Owl's link summed up lightning safety very well - it's one of the best write ups I have seen with statistics to back it up. Some of those conclusions were present in those linked discussions but not all.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wise Old Owl View Post
    Before posting check out this resource...CLICK
    This is really the best answer for lightning:
    Quote Originally Posted by bacon_grease View Post
    The safest place to be in a lightning storm is FAR away.
    My question is specifically about using the lightning position versus a hammock to protect from ground current. You have already done your best to get into a good location to minimize the chance of a direct strike or side flash. Now you have a choice to be in the lightning position or in the hammock. The name of the game here is to minimize the exposure to ground current and surface arcs - the parts of lightning that causes the most injuries and deaths. Not much can be done for a direct strike.

    The main part of the lightning position is to minimize the difference in potential across your body. The ground current is traveling horizontally through the ground, so the potential changes with horizontal distance. Basically, you are a better conductor than the ground. If the difference in potential is great enough, the lightning will go up one leg to your body and down the other leg causing damage in the process. Hence, keep your feet together and keep the difference in potential as small as you can so that you don't get a large current passing through your body.

    From page 6 of http://www.wec.ufl.edu/safety/Backco...ningSafety.pdf

    "[T]he lightning position is for waiting out storms in stationary situations when it is impractical to move to a safer location.
    1) Put your feet together to significantly reduce the effects of ground current which causes about half of lightning fatalities.
    2) Crouch to slightly reduce the effects of side flash and upward leaders which together cause ~40% of lightning fatalities.
    3) Don't touch long conductors to avoid contact voltage which causes ~20% of lightning fatalities."

    One big thing to add to the question is that you are essentially a long conductor (2 meters) in a horizontal electrical field. I can see this causing arcing even if the there are no half decent conductors attached to you. Any electrical specialists care to run the calculations? Electrical fields are not my specialty so it would take me a while to work out the equations and correct assumptions. I'm not even sure of the voltages involved in ground current - I haven't been able to find them.

    Now, assuming we haven't hung into a pickle, it comes back to the question about the suspension. If the suspension is a half decent conductor, the ground current could travel up one tree, through the suspension and through you - rendering the whole question about surface arcing moot. My guess is the same as BG, that it is not a good enough conductor and that it will either explode or melt . . . dumping you onto the ground.
    Quote Originally Posted by bacon_grease View Post
    What I'm looking into right now (in addition to that whole keeping the rig's DGPS's working thing) is finding out what will happen to a polyester rope when massive current is run through it. I suspect it will either explode from flash boiling water or burst into an explosion like flame that lasts less than a half second.
    Does the ground current dissipate during the 0.2 seconds it will take for you to fall to the ground (hanging at 0.5 meter height)? Or is the voltage of the ground current low enough that it won't travel into trees? (Anecdotes seem to say it's high enough but I have no data.)
    Last edited by Meriadoc; 04-08-2012 at 08:42. Reason: Typographical error.
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  7. #17
    Senior Member Meriadoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bacon_grease View Post
    Agreed. LightEning a hammock good, lightning through a hammock bad.
    This!
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  8. #18
    Senior Member Meriadoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nothermark View Post
    I'm not sure who you are talking to but I would think any company making high voltage insulators, big power distribution companies with their own labs, and big lightening protection manufacturers could all answer your question. Lapp Insulator has some stuff on line. I did not dig deeper. OTOH you might get a 20 min phone chat with an engineer if you had a list of questions. Worst they can do is tell you to bugger off. ;-)
    Good idea. At the worst it will brighten the day of whoever responds.

    "You won't believe what I was asked at work today. Someone called to ask about the electrical properties of a rope so he could hang a hammock in an electrical storm."
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  9. #19
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    Whenever I hang things seem to get heavier - no process of lightening. However lightning is downright scary

    In the upper elevations I stay of the hilltops. Pretty hard to sleep when a tree explodes!

  10. #20
    Chug's Avatar
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    That was some good info. With the number of people in tents, and the increasing number of people in hammocks. Have not heard of any people struck by lighting or Ground arc to the person. So more worried of a branch falling in the wind, or Tick bite.

    unless, somewhere is a list of Strikes on campers?.

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