Do metal objects such as mobile phones increase lightning risk?

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Gomes C.
Khurshid Z.M.
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Taylor and Francis Ltd.
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This study has been carried out to test two hypotheses; whether a small metal object such as mobile phones in possession of a human body increases the chances of a direct lightning strike and whether a similar object increases the chances of a side flash. Simulations were done in COMSOL Multiphysics for a metal sphere of radius 10 mm placed at the head level of a 2 m tall human being. A five-meter-tall cylindrical lightning target of resistivity 2.75 G? m and 10 n? m were considered. The influence of the side flash increases with the size of the metal object and also as its shape deviates from the spherical dimension. The outcomes of the study confidently discard the possibility of a metal object of practically viable size on a human body to influence the direct lightning attachment process. A metal sphere of radius about 22 m or a person of height 8.5 m is required for increasing the possibility of such a direct strike. Thus, the popular public concept is firmly rejected. However, the same metal object may significantly increase the side flash probability if the victim is close to the lightning struck object or inside an unsafe shelter. � 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.
Cellular telephones; Lightning; Spheres; Comsol multiphysics; Direct lightning; Direct lightning strikes; Direct strike; Human being; Human bodies; Lightning risk; Metal spheres; Metals