A BEGINNER’S INTRODUCTION TO THE STREET LIGHT POLE
Street light poles are the hollow large tubular structure ranging between 3ft to 160ft, created with a sole purpose to be a perfect vertical support for the lighting device to be attached to. By the rule of thumb, it is a widely accepted fact that light has a broader spread when projected from a given vertical height. This engineered pole can actually hold the lighting device at large heights allowing a good amount of light to illuminate a given ground. The street light pole is manufactured and designed in several ways depending upon the material used. Surprisingly, there are different types of material, each one with endowed with it’s own unique properties.
A Street light pole basically supports a lighting device placed atop a polymethyl methacrylate plastic disk capped upon the top end of the pole. The material prevalent to build the pole include mild steel (a very basic form of carbon steel), and Aluminum alloy. Steel poles undergo corrosion very easily due to presence of iron metal substrate used whereas the aluminum poles are naturally anti-corrosive in nature. As a consequence, the steel poles are subjected to HDG (hot water galvanization) or cheaper form of galvanization called Cold Water Galvanization resulting in formation of Zinc Carbonate on the surface of steel. The Zinc carbonate coating forms a protective layer which prevents the material from rusting.
Every street light pole formed from either of these materials are welded with bottom flange plate being the metal base on which the pole is mounted upon. It is perpendicular to the large steel tube in orientation with small triangular metal pieces called as rib plates spot welded perpendicular to both the steel tube and the flange. The arrangement looks something like the one shown in the image at upper right part under this topic.
The following postulates let you know the basic necessities required to build a street light pole. There’s a lot more physics involved in making a simple metal pole than might’ve thought of as you will see later in the blog.
The following points outline the main designing perspectives one must take while making an efficient street light. Not digging deep into the technicalities and core light engineering principles, these points point out the key areas to look at while designing a street light pole.
Warp refers to the deformation of the shape of metal when exposed to extreme heat. It always is in the context of mechanical distortions caused particularly by thermal energy. Since, solar radiations also fall under the category of sources of thermal energy, warp becomes a common phenomenon in metals exposed to sunlight. So, the warp becomes a distinct parameter to segregate different metal materials which are used to make the street light pole.
Resonance or in simpler words, Vibration in the metal commonly occurs in the metal street poles. Resonance or Metal vibration is further classified on the basis of strength of the produced.
FIRST ORDER RESONANCE:
• Includes vibrations of the pole on the top when hit by high velocity gusts of wind. These usually knock the top of the pole resulting in shorter and safer mode of vibrations called as first mode vibration
SECOND ORDER RESONANCE:
• Aeolian Vibrations or Second Mode Vibrations, prove strenuous to the brittle structure of the metal as they form along the mid-section of the pole. They are caused by low velocity, high frequency steady winds and due to pressure difference created between the wind facing side of the pole and the other side, vortices are created which then forces the mid-section to vibrate causing second order resonance.
• They have the ability to cause serious damage to a pole when prevailed for a long period of time
Ever since the 19th century, there has always been a preferred notion to use Iron steel poles for constructing the street light. This old-fashioned anecdote is yet religiously followed by many manufacturers even at present. However, with the advent of new technology, cheaper and other easier materials are introduced to replace Iron steels. As we dive deeper into what makes a good street light pole, we shall also tap into other materials to know which is the best suited material to make your own streetlight.
Let us look at the outlines of pros and mostly cons of using steel as a building material for construction of a street light pole. These outlines will give a fair idea of what exactly are we looking for when we make a street light pole by using steel as an example.
Let’s know Aluminum poles in a way such that it helps you decide when and where these poles should be used for.
Fiber glass is made by throwing molten glass through holes in a rotating metal spinner. This forms extremely fine glass strands which are then mixed with polyester resin later woven into textiles to make the final thin ‘fibres’ called as the fibreglass.
Modern streetlights made with metals, especially steel are first transformed from a trapezoid shaped plane sheet to a hollow cylinder by application of tremendous force on the sheet to bend it to form the cylindrical shape. It’s similar to folding a plane sheet of paper along it’s central line with it’s risen sides curved by pressing simultaneously to form a cylinder. The curved sides of the metal sheet are welded together to form a closed cylinder. Later, the steel cylinder is symmetrically dented at both sides so that any expansion of the metal caused does not disturb the ability of the pole to withstand extreme loads or develop any faults. Also the these bent dents created helps the overall load to be distributed rather than being concentrated at one point. This gives the pole extra load bearing capacity. Then handhole holes are carved for manual fittings and ground lug attached for further connections. The hollow cylinder or metal pole is made. But, for a street light pole further engineering is required as illustrated below.
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