ANDREW LAMBERT PHOTOGRAPHY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY ANDREW LAMBERT PHOTOGRAPHY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Lightning rod protecting a building from damage by a lightning strike. The lightning rod is the strip of metal (green) to the left of the drainpipe (black). The rod runs from the highest point of the building (the wind vane at top centre) where a bolt of lightning is more likely to hit, down to the ground (not seen). The metal lightning rod is a better conductor of electricity than the bricks, and conducts the electricity to the ground where it safely dissipates in the earth. This avoids the explosive damage and fires of a lightning strike. Lightning rods, invented in the 1750s, are often made of copper.
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