Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



This dissertation documents the measurements, analytical modeling, and numerical modeling of electromagnetic transfer functions to quantify the ability of cloud-to-ground lightning strokes (including horizontal arc-channel components) to couple electromagnetic energy onto multiconductor cables in an underground cavity. Measurements were performed at the Sago coal mine located near Buckhannon, WV. These transfer functions, coupled with mathematical representations of lightning strokes, are then used to predict electric fields within the mine and induced voltages on a cable that was left abandoned in the sealed area of the Sago mine. If voltages reached high enough levels, electrical arcing could have occurred from the abandoned cable. Electrical arcing is known to be an effective ignition source for explosive gas mixtures. Two coupling mechanisms were measured: direct and indirect drive. Direct coupling results from the injection or induction of lightning current onto metallic conductors such as the conveyors, rails, trolley communications cable, and AC power shields that connect from the outside of the mine to locations deep within the mine. Indirect coupling results from electromagnetic field propagation through the earth as a result of a cloud-to-ground lightning stroke or a long, low-altitude horizontal current channel from a cloud-to-ground stroke. Unlike direct coupling, indirect coupling does not require metallic conductors in a continuous path from the surface to areas internal to the mine. Results from the indirect coupling measurements and analysis are of great concern. The field measurements, modeling, and analysis indicate that significant energy can be coupled directly into the sealed area of the mine. Due to the relatively low frequency content of lightning (< 100 kHz), electromagnetic energy can readily propagate through hundreds of feet of earth. Indirect transfer function measurements compare extremely well with analytical and computational models developed for the Sago site which take into account measured soil properties.


Lightning conductors


This work was sponsored in part by the Mine Safety and Health Administration and in part by Sandia National Laboratories. Sandia is a multiprogram laboratory operated by Sandia Corporation, a Lockheed Martin Company, for the United States Department of Energys National Nuclear Security Administration under Contract DE-AC04-94AL85000.'

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Schamiloglu, Edl

Second Committee Member

Gilmore, Mark

Third Committee Member

Reda Taha, Mahmoud