A magnetic-flux-compensated voltage divider circuit has been proposed for use in measuring the true potential across a component that is exposed to large, rapidly varying electric currents like those produced by lightning strikes. An example of such a component is a lightning arrester, which is typically exposed to currents of the order of tens of kiloamperes, having rise times of the order of hundreds of nanoseconds. Traditional voltage-divider circuits are not designed for magnetic-flux-compensation: They contain uncompensated loops having areas large enough that the transient magnetic fluxes associated with large transient currents induce spurious voltages large enough to distort voltage divider outputs significantly.

A drawing of the proposed circuit was not available at the time of receipt of information for this article. What is known from a summary textual description is that the proposed circuit would contain a total of four voltage dividers: There would be two mixed dividers in parallel with each other and with the component of interest (e.g., a lightning arrester), plus two mixed dividers in parallel with each other and in series with the component of interest in the same plane. The electrical and geometric configuration would provide compensation for induced voltages, including those attributable to asymmetry in the volumetric density of the lightning or other transient current, canceling out the spurious voltages and measuring the true voltage across the component.

This work was done by Carlos T. Mata of Dynacs, Inc., for Kennedy Space Center. For further information, contact the Kennedy Innovative Partnerships Office at (321) 867-8130. KSC-12381/448

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the August, 2005 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

Read more articles from the archives here.