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Steps to Ensure Effective Substation Grounding (2) Edvard May 20, 2013

Continue d from pre vious article : Steps to Ensure Effective Substation Grounding (1)

Ensuring Proper Grounding
In previous technical article (part 1) was explained first five steps that will ensure a re liable , safe and trouble fre e substation grounding syste m . Here we will explain the last six steps:

6. Grounding Using Building Foundations

Steps to Ensure Effective Substation Grounding (photo by Peak Power Engineering, Inc.)

Concrete foundations below ground level provide an excellent means of obtaining a low-resistance ground electrode system. Since concrete has a resistivity of about 30 Ωm at 20 °C, a rod embedded within a concrete encasement gives a very low electrode resistance compared to most rods buried in the ground directly. Since buildings are usually constructed using steel-reinforced concrete, it is possible to use the reinforcement rod as the conductor of the electrode by ensuring that an electrical connection can be established with the main rebar of each foundation.

The concrete operation to Building control foundation


Even if the anchor bolts are not directly connected to the re inforcing bars (re bar) . create PDFs The size of the rebar as well as the bonding between the bars of different concrete members must be done so as to ensure that ground fault currents can be handled without excessive heating. An extremely low resistance path to earth for lightning and earth fault currents is ensured as the mass of the building keeps the foundation in good contact with the Print web 2/7 . There are a couple of issues to be considered while planning for grounding using the foundations as electrodes. Because corroded steel swells to about twice its original volume. The presence of even a small amount of DC current will cause corrosion of the rebar.printfriendly. Damage to concrete can be minimized either by limiting the duration of fault current flow (by suitable sensitive and fast acting protective devices) or by providing a metallic path from the rebar through the concrete to an external electrode. The other factor has to do with ground leakage currents. A high fault current (lightning surge or heavy ground fault) can cause moisture in the concrete to evaporate suddenly to steam. exceptionally good performance can be achieved.5/20/13 PrintFriendly. produces forces that may crack or otherwise damage the concrete. whose volume is about 1800 times of its original volume when existing as it can cause extremely large forces within the concrete. Proper design of Ufe r grounds provides for connections between all steel members in the foundation and one or more metallic paths to an external ground rod or main ground grid. Ufer grounds utilize the concrete foundation of a structure plus building steel as a grounding electrode. By proper joining of the rebars. Although AC leakage will not cause corrosion. The use of ‘Ufe r ’ grounds (named after the person who was instrumental in the development of this type of grounding practice ) has significantly increased in recent years. Go to Grounding Steps ↑ www. their close proximity and the conductive nature of concrete will provide an electrical path. which are especially designed for joining rebars throughout the construction. Excellent joining products are available in the market. Alternatively. concrete can disintegrate in the current path. In situations where the anchor bolts are not bonded to the rebar. the earth will rectify a small percentage of the AC to DC. This steam. copper rods embedded within concrete can also be used. That external electrode must be sized and connected to protect the concrete’s integrity. Such heating may cause w e ake ning and e ve ntual failure of the concre te me mbe r itse lf .

The reason for this is that the overhead HV lines entering or leaving a substation may snap and fall on the fence. Internal and perimeter gradients must be kept within safe limits because the fence is also atfull potential rise. as it will reduce both grid resistance and grid voltage rise. plus every second or third line post. All gates should be bonded to the gate posts using flexible jumpers. Persons or livestock in contact with the fence may receive dangerous electric Print web pages. The second most common substation hazard is lack of grounding (photo from IAEI Magazine) Utilities vary in their fence-grounding specifications. Special Attention to Operating Points To protect the operator in case of a fault. a dangerous situation may develop. This can be accomplished by extending the mesh with a buried perimeter conductor that is about 1 m outside the fence and bonding the fence and the conductor together at close intervals (so that a person or grazing animal touching the fence will stand on the equipotential surface so created). Go to Grounding Steps ↑ 8. It is recommended that the fence ground should be tied into the main ground grid. Grounding the Substation Fence Metallic fences of substations should be considered just as othe r substation structure s .com/print/?url=http://electrical-engineering-portal. create PDFs 7.5/20/13 PrintFriendly. an equipotential wire mesh safety mat can further reduce hazards from step and touch potentials when opening or closing the gate. with most specifying that each gate post and corner 3/7 .printfriendly. Unless the fence is integrated with the rest of the substation grounding system. This calls for use of a safety mesh close to these operating points on which the www. it should be ensured that he is not subjected to high touch or ste p pote ntials when a fault happens in the equipment he is operating. be grounded. All gate posts should be interconnected. In the gate swing area.

To dissipate the surge current with minimum voltage This works only if the operator can be kept completely isolated on the Print web pages. 3. It is therefore necessary that the conducting path from the grounding terminal of the surge arrestor to the earth must have minimum impedance. The re are four type s of safe ty mats. 1. Even a small amount of self-inductance offered by a grounding conductor will mean very high impedance because of the steep wavefront of the surge and very high voltages from appearing in the grounding system (albeit briefly). Pre fabricate d e quipote ntial w ire me sh safe ty mat burie d unde r the handle are a and bonde d to the grounde d structure . A ste e l grate on the surface . This arrangement has the operator standing directly on the grate. surges involve a ve ry fast rise time during which the current changes from zero to extremely high values of several 4/7 . 2.5/20/13 PrintFriendly. Bare conductor buried (in a coil or zig-zag pattern) under the handle area and bonded to the grounded structure. both the switch operating handle and the personnel safety grate (or mat) should be exothermically weldedto structural steel. create PDFs operator will stand and operate the equipment. each surge arrestor ground lead should have a short direct path to earth and should be free of sharp bends (bends act like a coil and www. Therefore. This is likely to be the least expensive choice. Usually. In all but the first arrangement. pe rmane ntly attache d to the grounde d structure . 4.printfriendly. Safety is ensured by increasing the resistance of current path. insulators must be kept clean. A ste e l grate or plate on supporting insulators. Go to Grounding Steps ↑ 9. Any vegetation in the vicinity should be cut or eliminated completely (this approach is similar to the insulating rubber mats placed in front of most indoor electrical equipment). so that the current flowing through the operator’s body into the ground does not exceed safe values. Surge Arrestors Must be Grounded Properly! When there is a surge in the electrical system (by indirect lightning strikes or due to switching) surge arrestors placed near all critical equipment divert surge energy to ground and protect the equipment from being subjected to the surge s . thus ensuring nearly zero voltage drop.

In these cases. When cable tray covers are 5/7 . the bonding jumpers (either the welded type used on steel trays or the lug type) must be placed across each spliced tray joint. Whenever there is any question about the adequacy of these paths.5/20/13 PrintFriendly. The mechanical splice plates by themselves may not provide an adequate and a reliable ground path for fault currents. Therefore. Go to Grounding Steps ↑ 10. close to the HV terminal bushings. they should be bonded to the tray with a flexible conductor. the grounding conductors should preferably be interconnected to the structure near the arrestor. create PDFs increase the inductance ).com: Print web pages. It must be e nsure d that multiple and se cure paths to ground are available (this include s making e ffe ctive conne ctions).com/print/?url=http://electrical-engineering-portal. Since steel structures (due to their multiple members) have lower impedance than a single copper conductor. are connected to the nearest wall-mounted collector bar. the conductor can be bonded inside or outside the tray. If a metallic tray comes with a continuous grounding conductor. it is recommended to use a separate copper conductor between the arrestor and the ground terminal (or main grounding grid). 318 specifies the requirements for cable trays and their use in reducing the induced voltages during a ground fault. along with the cable bus that collects ground leads from individual cabinets.printfriendly. All metallic tray sections must be bonded together with proper conducting interconnections. Overhead cable trays and ladder racks are jumpered and grounded with AWG #2 bare copper. the transformer tanks and related structures act as the grounding path. Grounding of Cable Trays The NEC vide Art. Often surge arrestors are mounted directly on the tank of transformers. www. These conductors. The trays should also be bonded to the building steel (usually at every other column). 6/7 . Shielding and Surge Protection – G. which would become live) is ensured. For cable connections to clamps. This is done so that in the event of the circuit becoming live due to inadvertent switching. then the other clamp is attached to the cable being grounded. Temporary Grounding of Normally Energized Parts When personnel work on highvoltage electric structures or Print web Go to Grounding Steps ↑ Re source : Practical Grounding. welded terminations (either a welded plain stud or a threaded silicon bronze stud welded to the conductor end) will provide a secure. The usual grounding me thod is to attach a fle xible insulate d coppe r cable w ith a ground clamp or lug on e ach e nd.5/20/13 PrintFriendly. Malcolm Barnes www. The clamp or lug is solidly conne cte d to ground . Mark Brown. Vijayaraghavan. the safety of personnel (in contact with the parts. any Temporary grounding of normally energized parts with ground rod and earth wire clamp conductive bodie s should be grounde d as a measure of safety. These flexible jumpers require periodic inspection and maintenance. permanent connection. create PDFs Go to Grounding Steps ↑ 11.

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