Lightning Poly Wire

What Happens When Lightning Strikes

This is what happens when fence wire picks up the Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) from a close lightning strike. I do not think these fences actually got directly hit by lightning. Rather they might have picked up a stray bolt or more likely just the EMP.

Ben found these out in the field while he was repairing fencing after our recent nine time close call with lightning.

The top polywire has all the stainless steel strands intact.

The middle polywire has the wires burnt and frayed.

The bottom polywire has no wires left at all – they were vaporized.

Consider how much energy it takes to vaporize stainless steel… I’m glad we were not in contact with the fences at the time those bolts came a visiting.

This was all on the same fence. If you look very closely at the bottom polywire you can see tiny droplets of stainless steel embedded in the plastic. Miraculously the plastic look unburnt.

This is cheap, bargain basement 3 strand polywire. I do not recommend it. Buy at least six strands and preferably nine strands of stainless steel per polywire. This is not related to lightning but just good fencing. I bought this once because it was cheap and I was being chintzy. I would not repeat that. Cheap is as cheap does. Chirp, chirp.

Outdoors: 83°F/59°F Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 74°F/63°F

Daily Spark: A mushroom cloud must expand before it collapses.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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5 Responses to Lightning Poly Wire

  1. Cary Howe says:

    It’s the voltage. Try pulling it into 120 wall power instead of 12 volt. It’ll fry in a second or two. I used to do a lot of hot wire foam cutting and if some one screwed up and turned the vari-ac all the way up instead of all the way down the moment you flipped it on the wire would fry. Imagine 12 volts verses probably a few million volts. It doesn’t take much stray voltage to melt the wire. It acts like an antenna.

  2. Farmerbob1 says:

    Walter, one of the big problems with electric fencing is the grounding that develops on it over time as vegetation grows into the fencing.

    I realized a few minutes ago, completely out of the blue that you have a very viable way to dramatically reduce this issue – plant some rocks. Yes, intentionally! You have all those granite skins. Imagine putting a ‘curb’ under your fence lines. It would serve two immediately useful purposes, perhaps three.

    First, it would prevent grasses and shrubs from growing directly underneath fencing.

    Second, it would mostly prevent rooting or digging under fences, whether by pigs, or predators.

    Third, you have mentioned that you are working to create terracing, and your fences follow the terrace lines you want to develop. Slabs of rock under the fences would help form terrace boundaries.

    Of course, there’s a better than even chance that you’ve already thought of this, but I can’t remember you mentioning it.

    • You’ve hit on one of our tricks. We often pave under fences with rock – e.g., stone walls. As we terrace and clear fields we move the rocks to the edges under the fence lines. Over time we make the walls nicer – they start as rubble pile walls. You can see another part of the solution on this post which wasn’t really about that topic but shows some fence going in that deals with that issue and other issues.

      • Farmerbob1 says:

        Ah, ok, I was actually looking at that picture earlier. I saw the troll bridge, and the vertical stones that looked to be part of a terracing effort, but didn’t see any horizontal stones directly under the fences to prevent vegetation growth there. I guess that comes later :)

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