UK Science Youtuber Tom Scott recently took a DJI Phantom 3 drone into the High Voltage Lab at the University of Manchester in the UK for some lightning strikes.
The high-voltage laboratory has a huge device that produces 2 million volts of electricity used for testing electronics and other equipment for research and teaching purposes. This is the first time that a consumer-class unmanned aerial vehicle has been tested.
The first strike was completed while the Phantom 3 hovered between the terminals where it would be directly in the path of the electrical charge. I won’t spoil the video for you, but some drones were harmed in the name of science!
Next the Phantom 3 was wrapped in conductive copper tape to see if the researchers could force the charge to avoid the electronics and follow a path that would protect the inside electronics.
Interestingly enough, the metal shrouded (but very flammable) LiPo battery of the Phantom 3 was completely unaffected by the surge of electricity. Dr Peesapati explained that the battery’s metal jacket forms a barrier like a Faraday cage to prevent current from entering.
Here is the full video from Youtube: