Group for Lightning and Surge Protection

The Group for "Lightning and Overvoltage Protection" was established in April 2011 by an endowed professorship and emerged from the traditionally close cooperation between the Technische Universität Ilmenau and the company DEHN SE. On August 3, 2011, the group officially started its activities with the appointment of Dr.-Ing. Michael Rock.

Everyday life is increasingly determined by electrical systems, equipment and devices. At the same time, the degree of networking between individual devices and equipment is also increasing, whether on the basis of electrical energy supply or for the exchange of data and information. This applies both to complex processes in industrial plants and to individual end users in the commercial sector and in private households. With the new concepts (regenerative energy generation, e-cars, intelligent house, smart grid), the complexity of energy and data networks continues to increase. For the success of the energy revolution, the economically optimised protection of exposed wind energy and photovoltaic plants, especially against lightning discharges, is a focal point to be highlighted. In addition, due to global warming, an increase in the intensity of thunderstorms can be assumed, which will increase the probability of lightning damage and the extent of the damage.

In particular, transient disturbance variables are most severely caused by lightning, but can also be caused to a lesser extent by processes in neighbouring electrical equipment. In the case of lightning discharges, there are also the direct thermal, mechanical and electrical effects which can cause direct damage to structural installations, to equipment for energy and information transmission and also endanger people.

In order to reduce the damage and hazards, protective devices and protection concepts against direct lightning effects and against conducted and field-bound disturbance variables should therefore be further developed and made more efficient.



Within the scope of its research activities, the department makes it its task to investigate the protective effect of existing concepts and protective devices and to develop the basis for new protective solutions.

  • Lightning and surge protection systems for wind energy and photovoltaic power plants

  • Lightning protection grounding systems with special focus on step and touch voltage

  • Effects of lightning on humans and personal lightning protection

  • Basic research and further development of surge protection devices

  • Surge protection devices for direct current (DC) systems and mixed current (MC) systems

  • Generation of reproducible currents with pulse current systems for basic research and for testing protective devices and protection concepts

  • Simulation of transient processes in electrical networks

Further Information

TU Ilmenau / Michael Reichel (ari)


In addition to a wide range of practice-oriented Bachelor's and Master's theses, the department also offers various courses (lectures, seminars and practical courses) as part of the training of students at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. These include, in particular, courses on the topics of lightning and surge protection as well as transient processes in electrical systems.

Courses in WS 2022/2023