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Electronic Design

Lightning Strikes Steinmetz's Curiosity

Like Benjamin Franklin, Charles Proteus Steinmetz was drawn to understanding and studying lightning. Lightning, he said, was an example of electrical transients because it reflects changes in electrical circuits of very short duration. The result of these studies was his theory of traveling waves. It opened the door to his creation at General Electric of methods to protect high-power transmission lines from lightning strikes. His last major project at GE was part of this research. He designed a generator that produced a discharge of 10,000 A and more than 100,000 V.

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