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Proceedings Paper

Lightning vulnerability of fiber-optic cables
Author(s): L. E. Martinez; M. Caldwell
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Paper Abstract

One reason to use optical fibers to transmit data is for isolation from unintended electrical energy. Using fiber optics in an application where the fiber cable/system penetrates the aperture of a grounded enclosure serves two purposes: first, it allows for control signals to be transmitted where they are required, and second, the insulating properties of the fiber system help to electrically isolate the fiber terminations on the inside of the grounded enclosure. A fundamental question is whether fiber optic cables can allow electrical energy to pass through a grounded enclosure, with a lightning strike representing an extreme but very important case. A DC test bed capable of producing voltages up to 200 kV was used to characterize electrical properties of a variety of fiber optic cable samples. Leakage current in the samples were measured with a micro-Ammeter. In addition to the leakage current measurements, samples were also tested to DC voltage breakdown. After the fiber optic cables samples were tested with DC methods, they were tested under representative lightning conditions at the Sandia Lightning Simulator (SLS). Simulated lightning currents of 30 kA and 200 kA were selected for this test series. This paper documents measurement methods and test results for DC high voltage and simulated lightning tests performed at the Sandia Lightning Simulator on fiber optic cables. The tests performed at the SLS evaluated whether electrical energy can be conducted inside or along the surface of a fiber optic cable into a grounded enclosure under representative lightning conditions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 3 September 2008
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7070, Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing IV, 70700C (3 September 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.795347
Show Author Affiliations
L. E. Martinez, Sandia National Labs. (United States)
M. Caldwell, Sandia National Labs. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7070:
Optical Technologies for Arming, Safing, Fuzing, and Firing IV
Fred M. Dickey; Richard A. Beyer, Editor(s)

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