Is lightning AC or DC?

DWQA QuestionsCategory: (EE) Power SystemIs lightning AC or DC?
Pentron asked 6 years ago
1 Answers
How Engineering Works Staff answered 6 years ago

The simple answer is that, overall, it’s mostly DC. However, it also has large transient current pulses before and during the main stroke.
Lightning is a capacitive discharge. You can think of the cloud and the ground as two plates of a capacitor charged to a very high voltage. When the insulation of the air breaks down it ionizes, and a very large DC current flows from one plate to the other down the ionized path.

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