Scientists have found that getting wet during a thunderstorm can save you from being struck by lightning.
The results of the study, published in the scientific journal Scientific Reports, show that pre-soaked 3D models of human heads suffered less damage from lightning strikes than dry ones, writes The Guardian.
“If you are out in the open and there is no shelter nearby, remember that wet skin is better than dry, because the water film acts as a protective coating.” – says René Machts, the author of the study from the Ilmenau University of Technology in Germany. However, he notes: hiding indoors is much safer.
In previous studies, scientists suggested that wet skin can reduce the strength of the current that passes through the human body in the event of a lightning strike. In addition, animals with wet skin have a better chance of surviving a lightning strike.
However, it was still unclear how exactly getting your head wet during rain can affect lightning strikes.
To find the answer to this question, the team of scientists built two models of the human head from three layers of agar-like substance with different levels of sodium chloride, carbon black or graphite. This helped to map the conductive properties of the brain, skull and scalp.
They then connected the electrodes to the different layers and to the platform on which the head models were placed. While one of them remained dry, the other was sprayed with a solution similar to rainwater. After being placed in a chamber, they were subjected to ten simulations of a direct lightning strike.
With each lightning strike, a current – a flash – passed through the “scalp” of both models. However, after the impact, even before the flash, in the wet head, the average electrical current in the brain layer was 12.5% lower than in the dry head. The level of specific energy in the brain was also lower – by 32.5%. According to scientists, this may be the reason for the survival of wet animals in previous experiments.
It is also worth noting that wet heads were less damaged. There were not as many cracks after a lightning strike and perforations (violation of integrity) on them as on dry ones.
The team plans to continue researching the physics of lightning.
“We plan to create other models of the head to evaluate the impact [наприклад] headgear and possibly research the most optimal material for it. It can certainly help travelers who can’t find shelter.” – noted René Machts.
Previously, we talked about 13 rules for how to behave during a thunderstorm.
Read also: Scientists explain what will happen to a person who has been struck by lightning