AT Research Center: the largest research centre on lightning and its effects

Aplicaciones Tecnológicas has one of the largest laboratories in the world specialised in the development of products and services in the field of prevention and protection against the effects of atmospheric electrical discharges. The AT Research Center focuses its main activity on research into lightning and its effects.

Its facilities allow the study of this complex phenomenon from different perspectives, considering both lightning produced naturally in the test fields and those generated in the laboratory. The center has three main areas for each of its activities.

Physics and Modelling

This area is responsible for developing physical, thermal and mechanical models, as well as carrying out multidimensional characterisation, studying the experimental physics of electrical discharge and analysing and interpreting the data.

In this part of the center, expert analysts, physicists and engineers use the results of the various tests to create the models mentioned above. These models are then used to improve both existing and new designs, develop simulation software, evaluate the behaviour of materials, determine the reaction of products in different situations and conditions, etc.

Laboratories

Located at the company’s headquarters you will find the laboratories where specific tests are carried out for research and development, device and equipment validation, quality control, etc.

Each facility is specialised in a different field:

  • High Current Laboratory: with its two high-current generators: a 250 kA 8/20 µs and a 320kA 10/350µs. This laboratory is dedicated to the testing and study of the direct and indirect effects of lightning.
  • 1.2 MV High Voltage Laboratory: it is focused on the evaluation of the processes prior to lightning strike: formation, propagation and interception.
  • Climatic and aging laboratory: products are tested on their resistance to the saline corrosion, to the sulphurous corrosion and to sudden changes of the temperature, through thermal shock.

Test fields

The company currently has three test fields located in Spain, Portugal and Cuba. In order to measure physical parameters for analysis and to undertake the testing and validation of electrical equipment and devices, field experiments are performed under natural conditions.

The physical phenomena that describes the interactions and processes in tests are studied at the AT Research Center. Thanks to this, it is possible to establish numerical models with which to simulate the behaviour of systems and equipment.

These models are the first step in the system design phase, and allow the electronic development team to approach implementation from the modelled response. The data collected is carefully analysed by experts to draw conclusions that are used at different stages of the development of lightning protection products and services.

Human resources at the AT Research Center

In addition to its facilities equipped with the most advanced technology, the AT Research Center has a team of highly trained specialists, both technical and scientific.

Within the AT Research Center, a multidisciplinary team constitutes the R&D department, which is capable of dealing with any type of technological and research project in the field of protection against electric storms, thanks to the diversity of technical profiles that make up the department. This ranges from the purely investigative part to regulatory testing, quality control tests, etc.

The research center’s team has professionals in a wide variety of technical areas, such as Electronic, Mechanical, Telecommunications, Computer and Industrial Design Engineering, as well as in fields such as Physics, Chemistry and Architecture, and can address a wide range of skills.

If you want to know more about the center, click here to access a presentation of the R&D department and the AT Research Center of Aplicaciones Tecnológicas.