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You are on page 1of 4

4, APRIL 2007

1181

Grounding Grids by Finite Element Method

in Frequency Domain

Lei Qi1 , Xiang Cui1 , Zhibin Zhao2 , and Huiqi Li2

Beijing Key Laboratory of High Voltage and EMC, North China Electric Power University, Beijing 102206, China

Key Laboratory of Power System Protection and Dynamic Security Monitoring and Control under Ministry of Education, North

China Electric Power University, Baoding 071003, China

Based on finite-element method (FEM) of 1-D conductor element coupled with 3-D soil element, we take into account the frequency

dependent characteristic of the discretized elements to analyze the grounding performance of the substation grounding grids. Compared

with A-V formulation of 3-D FEM, the proposed method can greatly save the CPU time, and the frequency can be considered during

FEM modeling. In comparison with the method of moment (MoM) and the measured results, the presented method is proved to be

correct and effective. Furthermore, we can calculate the H-field generated by the substation grounding grids with both currents in the

underground conductors and leakage currents flowing in the soil. The results show slight difference between FEM and MoM, which can

be explained by the fact that the leakage currents in the soil are not taken into account for MoM.

Index TermsFinite-element method (FEM), frequency domain method, method of moment (MoM), substation grounding grids.

I. INTRODUCTION

HE substation grounding grids provide a common ground

to apparatus and reduce external electromagnetic interference (EMI) to the relay and control equipment. The scale of the

substation grounding grids is enlarged with the increase of the

voltage class. And the safety analysis becomes more important

from the viewpoint of the electromagnetic compatibility (EMC)

in power systems.

Along with the rapid development of computer technology,

the electromagnetic field methods are widely applied to analyze

the grounding performance of the substation grounding grids

[1][4]. The boundary element method (BEM) is introduced for

modeling the grounding grids in [1] and proved to be difficult

for the layered soil. Based on the method of moment (MoM), a

numerical method has been used to analyze the frequency domain characteristic of the substation grounding grids in the layered soil [2], [3]. However, this method is tested to be relatively

complicated for the complex soil [4].

As an effective numerical method, the finite-element method

(FEM) is preliminarily applied for the grounding performance

analysis of the substation grounding grids [5][8]. In order to

consider the effect of the frequency on the grounding performance, the A-V formulations of FEM are used in [5], [6] and

demonstrated to be time-consuming. In [7] and [8], 1-D conductor element is coupled with 3-D soil element during the FEM

modeling. Since the electric scalar potential is adopted to reduce

the computational cost, the frequency is not considered in this

method.

coupled with a 3-D soil element, we take into account the frequency-dependent characteristic of the discretized elements to

model the substation grounding grids. Compared with the measured results, the proposed method is verified to be correct and

effective.

The spatial magnetic field due to the short-circuit fault in

a substation is generated by three kinds of currents: 1) in the

aerial conductor; 2) in the underground conductor; and 3) in the

soil. The current in the aerial conductor can be easily calculated

and is not involved in this paper, while the current in the underground conductor and the leakage current in the soil will be

discussed in the following sections.

II. METHODOLOGY

Using the electric scalar potential, the current field of the substation grounding grids is expressed by Laplaces equation (1)

with boundary conditions (2) and (3)

at infinity

on the earth's surface

(1)

(2)

(3)

The eight-node 3-D finite element and two-node 1-D finite element are chosen to discretize the soil region and the grounding

grids region, respectively. By the method of weighted residual,

(4)(7) are obtained.

The equations of the 3-D finite element in the soil region are

Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online

at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.

0018-9464/$25.00 2007 IEEE

(4)

1182

(10)

Fig. 1. 1-D and 3-D elements.

(5)

where

, and

and

are the interpolation function of the eight-node

soil element of the first order, electric scalar potential function,

and electric scalar potential of the node, respectively.

While the equations of the 1-D finite element in the grounding

grids region are

(6)

(11)

where

, and

are the lengths in three directions of the

3-D soil element.

For the two-node line element in the grounding grids region,

the element stiffness matrix is

(12)

(7)

here

(13)

where

, and are the length, the cross section and the conductivity of the 1-D conductor element, and

and

are

the interpolation function of the two-node conductor element

of the first order, electric scalar potential function, and electric

scalar potential of the node, respectively.

In order to solve the above FEM equations, the element stiffness matrices

of the soil element and the conductor element

are required. Then, the total stiffness matrix can be obtained

by integrating all the element stiffness matrices. In this paper,

the truncation boundary (potentials are set to zero) of the domain to be modeled is set to be seven times of the dimension

of the grounding grids to ensure higher accuracy. As shown in

Fig. 1, the 1-D conductor element matches together with one

edge of the 3-D soil element and both elements share the nodes

1 and 2.

For the eight-node brick element in the soil region, the element stiffness matrix is

(8)

where

is the per-unit length (PUL) dc resistance of the 1-D

conductor element.

In order to take the frequency into account during the FEM

modeling, on one hand, both the displacement current and the

conduction current are considered for the soil element, i.e., the

real conductivity

is replaced by the complex conductivity

, where is the permittivity of the soil element. On

the other hand, the PUL impedance

works as the substitute

for the conductor element. For the

for the PUL dc resistance

underground conductor with the radius , the PUL impedance

can be calculated by a closed-form approximation [9]

(14)

here

(15)

(16)

(17)

here

(18)

(9)

where

and

are the PUL internal impedance and the

PUL external impedance, and

and are the conductivity,

the permeability, and the buried depth of the underground

conductor, and

is the soil conductivity, and

is the zero

order Bessels function of the second kind.

It should be noted that the presented method is applicable for

both the voltage exciting source and the current exciting source.

For the current exciting source, the grounding impedance of the

1183

TABLE II

GROUNDING IMPEDANCES AT DIFFERENT FREQUENCIES

TABLE I

SOIL RESISTIVITY MODEL

the current at the injected node. While for the voltage exciting

source , the corresponding grounding impedance is

(19)

where

and

are the complex powers of the soil element

and the conductor element, respectively.

The magnetic field generated by the substation grounding

grids is composed of two parts. One part produced by the axial

currents in the underground conductors is calculated by the

BiotSavart law, while the other part produced by the leakage

currents flowing in the soil can be calculated by the integration

method in [10].

III. VALIDATION

The test grounding grids with the buried depth of 0.6 m shown

in Fig. 2 consist of a 30 m 30 m main grid, a 4 m 4 m auxiliary grid, and a 30 m horizontal grounding electrode. The underground conductor made of steel has the radius of 1 cm, the

resistivity of 1.702 10

m, and the relative permeability

of 636. In Fig. 2, the origin of coordinate is at the center of

the main grounding grid, and the current can be injected into

the grounding grids at Points AD. Table I gives the four-layer

model of the soil resistivity, and the relative permittivity of the

soil is 10.

Table II lists the grounding impedances of the test grounding

grids at different frequencies when the current is injected at

Point A. We can find that the results of FEM are slightly less

than that of MoM.

When the current of 30 Hz, 30 A is injected at Point A, the

potential distribution on the earths surface along Line 1 and 2

is, respectively, given in Fig. 3(a) and (b). We can see that the

Fig. 3. Potential distribution on the earths surface at 30 Hz. (a) Line 1. (b)

Line 2.

slightly less than that of MoM.

In order to validate the proposed method at high frequencies,

the currents of 2 kHz, 0.592A, and 10 kHz, 0.554 A are, respectively, injected at Point A and extracted at Point C. Then, we

can calculate the potential differences between Point A and the

points on the earths surface with the interval of 0.5 m along

Line 3 in Fig. 2. Figs. 4 and 5 illustrate the measured results

and the calculated results using FEM and MoM at the two frequencies. It can be seen that the calculated results of FEM are in

good agreement with the measured results and superior to that

of MoM.

When the current of 30 Hz, 30 A is injected at Point A, the

H-field distribution on the earths surface along Line 1 and 2

is, respectively, given in Fig. 6(a) and (b). We can see that the

results of FEM are slightly larger than that of MoM.

From Figs. 36 and Table II, the following conclusions can

be obtained. 1) For the grounding impedance of the grounding

grids and the potential distribution on the earths surface, the

1184

results of FEM are slightly less than that of MoM and fit the

measured results better. 2) For the H-field distribution on the

earths surface, the results of FEM are slightly larger than that

of MoM. These conclusions are consistent with the conclusions

drawn in [6], which is due to the fact that the leakage currents

in the soil are not considered for MoM.

IV. CONCLUSION

In this paper, we present a finite-element method for analyzing the grounding performance of the substation grounding

grids in frequency domain. The advantage of the proposed

method is that the effect of the frequency is taken into account

during the FEM modeling. In comparison with MoM and the

measured results, this method is proved to be correct and effective. Furthermore, combined with the method of nodal analysis

in the circuit theory, the method can be conveniently used for

modeling the grounding system with multiple exciting sources

(e.g., voltage source and current source) and lumped elements

(e.g., resistance, inductance and capacitance) connected.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

This work was supported in part by Scientific Funds for

Outstanding Young Scientists of China under Grant 50325723,

in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China

under Grant 50577019, and in part by Program for Changjiang

Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University under

Grant IRT0515.

Fig. 6. H-field distribution on the earths surface at 30 Hz. (a) Line 1. (b) Line

2.

REFERENCES

[1] J. Dai, Calculation of the large grounding grids in power station and

substation by the boundary element method (in Chinese), Eng. J.

Wuhan Univ., vol. 1, pp. 5162, 1984.

[2] B. Zhang, Diagnosis of breaks in substations grounding grid by using

the electromagnetic method, IEEE Trans. Magn., vol. 38, no. 2, pp.

473476, Mar. 2002.

[3] B. Zhang, An electromagnetic approach to analyze the performance of

the substations grounding grid in high frequency domain, COMPEL,

vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 756769, 2003.

[4] Z. Zhao, Analysis of grounding systems in multi-layer soil with finite volumes of different resistivities, Proc. CSEE, vol. 24, no. 9, pp.

218223, 2004.

[5] B. Nekhoul, Calculating the impedance of a grounding system, IEEE

Trans. Magn., vol. 32, no. 3, pp. 15091512, May 1996.

[6] B. Nekhoul, A finite element method for calculating the electromagnetic fields generated by substation grounding systems, IEEE Trans.

Magn., vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 21502153, May 1995.

[7] M. Trlep, A. Hamler, and B. Hribernik, The analysis of complex

grounding systems by FEM, IEEE Trans. Magn., vol. 34, no. 5, pp.

25212524, Sep. 1998.

[8] Y. Gan, J. Ruan, and Y. Chen, Application of unidimensional finite

element method (FEM) coupled with three dimensional FEM in characteristics analysis of grounding mesh property (in Chinese), Power

Syst. Technol., vol. 28, no. 9, pp. 6266, 2004.

[9] O. Saad, G. Gaba, and M. Giroux, A closed-form approximation for

ground return impedance of underground cable, IEEE Trans. Power

Del., vol. 11, no. 3, pp. 15361545, Jul. 1996.

[10] M. Fan and X. Du, Integral method of magnetic field generated by the

3D distributed currents (in Chinese), HIET J., vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 19,

1984.

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