Is it permissible to pull the bare copper down conductor in exposed EMT conduit .
Depends on the inspection agency and their interpretation of the standard. Certain agencies will flag the copper and galvanized steel in violation of 4.2.1 (Galvanic Corrosion). Also, any conductor ran within a metallic conduit must be bonded to the conduit at it's extremities.
No that is not allowed, as it is a violation of NFPA 70 358.12 (6).
358.12 Uses Not Permitted. EMT shall not be used under
the following conditions:
(1) Where, during installation or afterward, it will be subject
to severe physical damage.
(2) Where protected from corrosion solely by enamel.
(3) In cinder concrete or cinder fill where subject to permanent
moisture unless protected on all sides by a
layer of noncinder concrete at least 50 mm (2 in.) thick
or unless the tubing is at least 450 mm (18 in.) under
(4) In any hazardous (classified) location except as permitted
by other articles in this Code.
(5) For the support of luminaires or other equipment except
conduit bodies no larger than the largest trade size
of the tubing.
(6) Where practicable, dissimilar metals in contact anywhere
in the system shall be avoided to eliminate the
possibility of galvanic action.
Consider running it in PVC conduit or leaving the conductor exposed.
Depending on the jurisdiction, PVC conduit might not be an allowed method. I know Chicago has been relaxing PVC conduit rules but they are still very hard and fast to require metallic conduits.
Lightning conductor cables are sometimes put into conduit as an aid to running cables through concrete slabs or to help protect it from abuse and theft. But conduit is not required by NFPA 780 and lightning protection is not covered in NFPA 70, so the rules about using PVC as an electrical conduit shouldn't apply. It may help if the construction documents call it something other than "conduit" such as "sleeve", "tube" or "conductor enclosure."
But conduit is not required by NFPA 780 and lightning protection is not covered in NFPA 70, so the rules about using PVC as an electrical conduit shouldn't apply.
NFPA 780 2.4 references for extracts in Mandatory Sections NFPA 70, The National Electrical Code, therefore NFPA 70 is woven into NFPA 780 and shall be followed when installing Lightning Protection Systems.
In addition under 3.3.31, raceway, EMT is also included into NFPA 780.
While "conduit" is not required, when the conductor is subject to displacement or mechanical damage shall be protected with a protective molding or covering.
Regardless of the term (conduit, sleeve, tube, etc.) several jurisdictions have bans on PVC and other non-metallic "tubes". In a vast majority however SCH80 PVC is typically used in locations subject to damage or displacement. I believe NFPA 70 also has this requirement for PVC conduit used at exterior grade locations.
Getting back to the original question, it's my personal belief that there are no written requirements prohibiting the use of copper conductor in RGS or EMT conduits. My interpretation is that 4.2.1 only applies to the compatibility of the components in a lightning protection system (air terminals & air terminal bases, conductors & connectors, etc.), not the compatibility between the LPS and the structure. I'm probably in the minority with that stance so we will have to see during the upcoming 2023 code cycle.
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