Magnetic Repulsion of Lightning

The experiment described in this paper involves the process of repelling lightning through the use of a magnet. The problem posed in this research is whether the addition of a magnet to a metal structure will result in the repulsion of lightning away from the structure. The researchers hypothesized that the number of visible lightning strikes is significantly less with a magnet present than the number of strikes when there is no magnet present. A Van de Graaff generator was used to simulate the lightning in this experiment. For each ten second trial, the researchers counted the number of lightning strikes visible to the human eye that appeared between the generator and an aluminum discharge electrode wand. A total of 60 trials, 30 with a magnet and 30 without a magnet, were conducted. A two-sample t statistical test used to analyze the data concluded that the average number of lightning strikes that occurred with a magnet was significantly less than the average number of strikes without a magnet. The box-plots created from the data showed a significant difference between the "Magnet" and "No Magnet" data. Through the use of a magnet to repel lightning away from a metal structure, therein lies a possible alternative lightning protection system without the use of a lightning rod.

Research Done By:

Pamela Conley
Center Line High School

Andrea Harthorn
Center Line High School