Electricity in Its Natural Form – Thunder and Lightning
The Formation of Thunder and Lightning
Thunder and lightning is a common natural phenomenon. When a substantial amount of electric charges are accumulated in a storm cloud, the electric field becomes so strong that it causes the air around the cloud to break down, creating an ionized path in which the electrons flow from the part of the cloud with negative charges to the part with positive charges. A spark discharge takes place and lightning is formed.
When lightning is generated, the temperature of the air inside the ionized path rises to about 20000℃ or above. As the air expands quickly, a big banging sound known as thunder is produced.
Thunder and lightning is extremely powerful. Benjamin Franklin, an American scientist, invented the lightning conductor to prevent deaths and injuries from lightning strikes. A lightning conductor is a metal rod mounted on top of a building with its bottom part connected to the ground through a wire. Lightning, as it strikes, will be attracted to the rod, which will act as a conductor through which the electrical current is conveyed to the ground, thereby saving the building from damage.