Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Lightning and Ships
Name:  Michael T.
Status: other
Age: 50s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2000-2001


Question:
Ships anchored by chain do not seem to have a major problem with lightning strikes. Why?


Hi, Michael !!!

Well, as you know, a lightning conductor in sky-scrappers has not the chief task of attracting the lightning, but has the function of discharge the atmosphere. The better the electrical connection, the better the electrical discharge. Your question : " ships anchored by chain do not seem to have a major >problem with lightning strikes. Why? " The answer seems to me to be that ships discharge, rather then attracts lightning.

Best regards

Alcir Grohmann


Michael,

The chain is no easier for electricity to pass through than the water around it. The chain contacting the bottom of the boat is no more attractive to the lightning bolt than is the water touching the boat. A thick chain passing from the top of a wooden mast to the water might be a little "attractive", but it would act as a lightning rod. Very little electricity would enter the wood of the boat.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Illinois Central College



Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory