EI3380 The Lightning Flash and Lightning Protection, PhD Course 8.0 credits

Blixturladdning och åskskydd, doktorandkurs

The purpose of this course is to provide PhD students a solid foundation on the properties and parameters of engineering interest of the lightning flash and to familiarize students with the current protection practice of structures and objects against the harmful effects of lightning.

  • Education cycle

    Third cycle
  • Main field of study

  • Grading scale

    P, F

Information for research students about course offerings

The course is given when there is sufficient demand. Please contact the examiner if you are interested in taking the course.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  •  Describe the general structure of thunderclouds and the different types of lightning discharges
  • Describe the various processes within a lightning discharge such as upward and downward leader discharges and dart leaders, stepped leaders, return strokes, continuing currents etc.
  • The important parameters of lightning discharge and damage mechanism to objects
  •  Familiarize with the measuring techniques of lightning-generated electric and magnetic fields
  • Understand the lightning attachment process and the different lightning interception models
  • Describe the differences between laboratory experiments, rocket triggered lightning, natural lightning, tower-initiated upward lightning.
  • Estimate the electromagnetic fields generated by lightning and various computational models
  •  Understand the field-to-transmission line coupling models for induced voltage calculations
  • Describe the effect of ground conductivity and other design parameters in the voltages induced by lightning strikes
  • Understand the different principles of protection of structures against lightning
  • Familiarize with the international standard on lightning protection
  • Design a lightning protection system for a simple structure
  • Describe the electrical aspects of lightning strikes to humans

Course main content

Lightning flash and lightning protection theory.

  • Charge structure and geographical variation of thunderclouds
  • The mechanism of the lightning flash and lightning phenomenology
  • Lightning parameters of engineering interest
  • Rocket triggered and tower-initiated lightning experiments
  • Lightning attachment to ground-based structures
  • Computation of electromagnetic fields from lightning discharge
  • Mathematical models of return strokes
  • Interaction of electromagnetic fields generated by lightning with overhead electrical networks
  • Lightning and EMC
  • Protection of structures against lightning: external and internal lightning protection systems
  • Grounding and lightning protection
  • Lightning protection of power lines and low voltage networks
  • Lightning protection of wind turbines, telecommunication towers, boats etc.
  • Lightning protection of structures with risk of fire and explosion
  • Lightning-caused injuries in humans


Lessons 30 h


At least Bachelor’s level electromagnetic field theory


Chapters from Rakov and Uman, Lightning: Physics and Effects, Cambridge University Press, New York (2003); Chapters from Cooray (ed), The Lightning Flash, IEE Publication, London (2003); Chapters from Cooray (ed), Lightning Protection, IET Publication, London (2010), Journal Papers          


  • EXA1 - Examination, 8.0, grading scale: P, F

Requirements for final grade

Written examination, a simulation exercise report. Oral presentation of one subject.

Offered by

EECS/Electromagnetic Engineering


Marley Becerra


Rajeev Thottappillil <rajeev@kth.se>


Course syllabus valid from: Autumn 2011.
Examination information valid from: Spring 2019.