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How to Select the Best Earthing System

Earthing System Components Part One

Earthing System Components Part Two

Earthing System Components Part Three

Introduction to Grounding System Design Part One

Introduction to Grounding System Design Part Two

Types of Earthing System Part One

Types of Earthing System Part Two

How to Select the Best Earthing System

In Article " Types of Earthing System Part One ", I listed the Different Types of Earthing Systems which can be divided
according to the following factors:



System size,


Neutral point connection to earth,

Neutral point connection to earth + the connection method of the electrical installations exposed
conductive parts.

And I explained the first two categories in this Article, showing that the Types of Earthing Systems according to its
Function can be divided to Six types as follows:

Static grounding,


Equipment grounding,


System grounding,


Lightning grounding,


Electronic (including computer) grounding,


Maintenance safety grounding.

And the Types of Earthing Systems according To Its Size can be divided to Two types as follows:




Also, In Article " Types of Earthing System Part Two ", I explained the Types of Earthing Systems according To Neutral
point connection to earth, which were:

The solidly (or directly) earthed neutral,


The unearthed neutral,


High impedance-earthed neutral,


Resistance earthing,


Reactance earthing,


Petersen coil earthing.

And the Types of Earthing Systems according To Neutral point connection to earth + the connection method of the
electrical installations exposed conductive parts, which were:

IT (Unearthed transformer neutral, earthed frame),


TT (Transformer neutral earthed, and frame earthed),


TNC (If the N and PE neutral conductors are one and the same (PEN))


TNS (If the N and PE neutral conductors are separate),


TNC-S (Use of a TN-S downstream from a TN-C (the opposite is forbidden).

Today I will explain How to select the best earthing system for a new construction from the above types as follows.

You can preview the following Articles for more info:

Introduction to Grounding System Design Part One

Introduction to Grounding System Design Part Two

How to select the best earthing system for a new construction

Who decide which Type of Earthing Systems to be used?

For any new construction, three parties share in the Choice of earthing

Electrical power users,

Network operators (electrical service),
Installations design engineering firms.

Experience shows however that the choice is mainly made by the

engineering firms designing the installation.

Criteria For Selection Of The Best Earthing System

the criteria used to make the best choice will be according to:

Country Regulations,
Country development,
Type of building,


Type of networks and building Loads,

Availability of Electrical Service,
Complexity of design.

1- Country regulations
The regulations or standards applied in the country in some cases impose
certain types of earthing system arrangements (SEA).

The most common systems in most countries are TT and TN; a few
countries, in particular Norway, use the IT system.

The table in below figure#1 lists some examples for LV earting systems
for public distribution (LV consumers) for different countries. This table shows
that Anglo-Saxon countries mainly use the TN-C, whereas the TT is used in the
rest of the world.

Fig.1: examples for LV earting systems for public distribution (LV

consumers) for different countries

2- Country development
The degree of development of the country should also be taken into
consideration, as should be national practices, climate, etc.

If we plot an axis from North to South, as regards public distribution,

we find the IT earthing system in Norway, TN-C in Germany, TT in France and
in most African countries.

In temperate, industrial countries, all three earthing systems are used

in private installations.

3- Type of building
1- In a certain number of countries, for some buildings or parts of a building,
the choice is laid down by legislations or standards, e.g. for hospitals, schools,
navy, worksites, mines, etc. In other cases, certain earthing systems are strictly
prohibited, for example the TN-C in premises with explosion risks.
2- The required level of dependability should determine which earthing system
is chosen for a specific building type.
Dependability means that electrical power should thus always be available and
be completely risk-free, i.e. out of sight, out of mind. The elements making
up installation dependability:

Proper operation of low current communicating systems

These elements must therefore be optimised. The table in below figure#

2 reviews the strong and weak points in each earthing system:

Fig.2: Comparison of system earthing arrangements

In terms of the protection of persons, the three system earthing arrangements
(SEA) are equivalent if all installation and operating rules are correctly
followed. Consequently, selection does not depend on safety criteria.

4- Type of networks and building Loads

The particular characteristics of the network and the loads will affect the
selection of earthing system arrangements as in below table in figure#3.

Fig.3: Influence of networks and loads on the selection of

system earthing arrangements

5- Availability of Electrical Service

The decision of the owner if supply is via a private MV/LV transformer
(MV subscription) or the owner has a private energy source (or a separatewinding transformer).

If the owner effectively has a choice, the decision on the SEA is taken
following discussions with the network designer (design office,
contractor), The discussions must cover:

First of all, the operating requirements (the required level of
continuity of service) and the operating conditions (maintenance
ensured by electrical personnel or not, inhouse personnel or
outsourced, etc.)
Secondly, the particular characteristics of the network and the
loads as infig.3.

6- Costs
The TN-S is the least costly to install, for example if the neutral is
neither protected nor switched. But be warned: the cost of curative
maintenance can be high.

The IT is slightly more costly to install (insulation monitoring and

insulation fault tracking devices). Search for maximum availability of
electrical power requires the presence of an electrical engineer, whose
action will minimize curative maintenance.

The TT, if enough discriminating RCDs are installed, is slightly more

costly to install than the IT, but fault tracking is simple and curative
maintenance less costly than in TN.


In terms of complete cost over 10 to 20 years, all three earthing systems are

7-Complexity Of Design

Designing is simpler in TT, the same for extensions (no calculations).

Designing complexity is equivalent in TN-S and IT.

Steps For Choosing The Best Earthing System

Step#1: Firstly do not forget that the three system earthings can all be
included in the same electrical installation: This guarantees the best possible
answer to safety and availability needs (see below figure#4).

Fig.4: several earthing system included in the same LV installation.

Step#2: check that the choice is not specified or stipulated by standards or
legislation (decrees, ministerial decisions)
Step#3: dialogue with the user to get to know his requirements and resources,
and Generally (see table in figure#5 ):
1- Need for continuity of service and Whether or not there is a maintenance

Continuity of service and maintenance service: the IT will be chosen.

Continuity of service and no maintenance service: No fully satisfactory

solution: Prefer the TT whose discrimination on tripping is easier to implement
and which minimises damage with respect to the TN. The installation of
additionnal output is easily achieved without the necessity of further

Continuity of service not essential and compent maintenance service:

prefer the TN-S (rapid repairs and extensions performed according to rules),

Continuity of service not essential and no maintenance service: Prefer

the TT

2- Fire hazard

IT if maintenance service and use of 0.5 A RCD or TT.

3- Safety

The TT is the best.

4- Availability

The IT is the most suitable.

5- Maintenability

Fault tracking is fast in TN (thanks to the SCPD) but repair time is often

Conversely, in IT, tracking of the first fault may be more difficult, but
repairs are quicker and less costly.

The TT is a good compromise.

6- Reliability
The protection devices used are reliable, but reliability of the installation and
loads may be affected:
a- In TN-C by the fact that the PEN, not protected, may be damaged by
harmonic currents;
b- In TN-C and TN-S:

By insufficient rigour for extensions,

By use of replacement sources with low short-circuit power,

By the effects of electrodynamic forces;

c- In IT, on a double fault, the risks inherent in TN described above also exist.
However if tracking and elimination of the 1st fault are rapid, installation
reliability is excellent.
d- in TT, by disruptive breakdown by return of the loads due to a fault in the
HV/LV transformers. However the likelihood of this fault occurring is small and
preventive solutions are available, e.g. use of surge arresters between one of
the live conductors and the load earth connection.
7- Disturbance

The TT is to be preferred to the TN-S whose high fault currents may be

the source of disturbance.

Fig.5: Comparison of system earthing arrangements according to its


Step#4: Finally allow for the special features of network and loads as follows:
Very long network or, even more important, leakage current: Prefer the

Use of replacement or standby power supplies: Prefer the TT,

Loads sensitive to high fault currents (motors): Prefer the TT or IT,

Loads with low natural insulation (furnaces) or with large HF filter (large
computers): Prefer the TN-S,

Supply of control and monitoring systems: Perfer the IT (continuity of

service) or the TT (enhanced equipotentiality of communicating devices).

Earthing System Components

Earthing System Components

Earthing system in an installation is normally comprised of the following

Earth wells and accessories,

Earthing grid conductors,
Marshalling earth buses (earthing distribution buses),
Earthing wires and cables.

1- Earth Wells and Accessories

Earth wells for a specific building or installation are actually the
location, where the pure zero potential is provided and practically act as drain
pits for any rush current which accidentally appears in the earthing system grid

in the event of an earth fault (connection of electrical live parts to the

earthing system).

There are different types of components can be used to set up an earth

well Depending on the following factors:
Soil conductivity of the location in which the earth wells are
The required technical specifications of the earthing system.

However, the prime components and accessories of an earth well will be:


Earth Rod,
Earth Plate,
Earthing Clamp,
Earthing Rod Coupling,
Earthing Rod Tip,
Earthing Rod Driving Head with driving sleeve,
Earth Access Pit,
Earth Pit Cover,
Earth Enhancement Materials.

1.1 Earth Rods

Depending on the design for a specific earth well, a number of rods
are driven into the ground by means of hammering or driving to form the
main earthing electrode in the earth well.

The earth rod have three types:



Non-Sectional Ground Rods: have unthreaded top.

Sectional Ground Rods: have externally threaded top.
Sectional Ground Rods: have internally threaded top.

In Cases where two or more earth rods are to be driven, the

individual rods are coupled to each other by means of earth rod coupling.

Ground rods coupling process are used to help reduce ground

resistance in poor soils such as sand and gravel.

Doubling rod length theoretically reduces ground resistance about


1.1.1 Methods for Driving Earth Rod into Ground

Two methods are used to drive the rod into the ground:
Hammering: by using a hammer, a drive stud and rod tip.
Driving: by using a Driving Hammer Tool and Ground Rod Drive
Bit or using a Driving Hand Tool.

During the hammering or driving of rod into the ground, and to
protect the earth rod against impact of hammering, a driving head is
screwed onto the top of the rod.

For easy and convenient driving of the earth rod into the ground an
earth rod tip with sharp point is screwed to the first rod.

Earth rods are used in installation of plain earthing well where, based

on design specification of the earthing system, the carbon bedding is not

necessary and applicable.

1.1.2 Earth Rod Material

UL467- 9.2.1 states that the solid rod electrode of copper or other
suitable non-ferrous metal, or a solid rod electrode of iron or steel with a
copper or other suitable non-ferrous metal or stainless steel jacket, shall
have a diameter not less than inch thick.

Also, UL467-9.2.2 states that the stainless steel jacket shall not be
less than 0.015 inches thick at any point.

And UL467-9.2.6 states that the stainless steel jacket mentioned

above on a stainless steel rod shall be formed of an austenitic stainless steel
of the 18% chromium, 8% nickel type. And stainless steel ground rods are
used in corrosive soil conditions.

Usually in Europe and Middle East, Earthing rod and the associated
accessories (coupling, tip and head) are made of both steel and copper. A
steel core, coated with pure copper to the appropriate thickness, provides
the sufficient rigidity for the earthing rod to help driving it straightly into
the ground without any harm and bending. The copper coating of the earth
rod provides the sufficient conductivity for the earthing system.

1.2.3 Earth Rod Dimensions

a- Diameter:
Depending on the design specification of the earthing system and the
corresponding earthing wells, various earth rods of different dimensions
would be incorporated.

As per UL467- 9.2.1, the solid rod electrode shall have a diameter not
less than inch thick.

In Europe and middle east, The range of diameter for the earth rods
vary from 13 mm to 25mm (13mm,16mm, 20mm, 25mm).

b- Length:

Different lengths of earthing rods are used in design and installation of earth
wells, The standard lengths are:
In North America: 2, 3, 5, 8 and 10 feets.

In europe and middle east: 1200mm, 2400 mm (2 1200 mm), 3600

mm (3 1200 mm) and 4800 mm (4 1200 mm).

1.2 Earth Plate

In earth wells with carbon beddings, earthing plates are normally used instead
of earthing rods. The earth plate is made of copper and shaped in the following

Flat rectangular copper plate,

Perforated rectangular copper plate (Earth Mat).

Copper ground plates are used instead or with the ground rods in the following

In areas having little or no top soil,

If it is required to enhance ground grid systems,
In conjunction with earth enhancements materials.

For securing good electrical connections with the ground plate, ground plate
One cable connector,
Two dual cable connectors,
18 or 24 inches (depending on the plate size) copper conductor
exothermically welded to the plate cable connectors

Earth Plate Size:

The common sizes of ground plates are:

In North America: 18 x 18 inches or 24 x 24 inches.

In Europe:
The flat rectangular earth plate is normally 100 100 3 mm.
The standard cross section area for the copper rod or copper
strips used in construction of the perforated rectangular earth plate is

normally 75 sq-mm.

Differences between Earth rods and Earth Plates

Earth rods and plates or any combination thereof can be used to achieve an
effective earth depending on the site conditions. The main difference
between Earth rods and Earth Plates is as follows:
Earth rods take advantage of lower resistivity soils at greater depths
than normal excavation will allow.

While, Earth plates are used to attain an effective earth in shallow

soils with underlying rocks or in locations with large amounts of buried
services. They can also provide protection at potentially dangerous places eg
HV switching positions.

1.3 Earthing Clamp

Earthing grid conductors are connected to the earth rods, already driven
into the ground, by means of earthing clamps.

This Connection between earth rod and Earthing grid conductors is

essentially made by tightly clamping of the grid conductor to the rod by one of
the two following methods:


Mechanical Clamps,
Exothermic Welding Clamping.

1- Mechanical Clamps:

They are Used Where permanent connections are not appropriate,

mechanical clamps offer the ideal solution. These are typically used on smaller
scale installations where periodic disconnection for testing is required.

The mechanical earhing clamp may come with one bolt or two bolts, the
two bolts give more good electrical connection with the earh rod.

Mechanical Earthing clamps and associated bolts nuts, washers, etc. are

made of brass, bronze or copper.

The mechanical earth clamps sizes shall be selected to accommodate the

diameters of earh rod and grounding conductors.

Types Of Mechanical Earthing Clamps:

Light duty type: this type is acceptable for electrical grounding
but not for lightning protection.
Heavy duty type: this type is acceptable for lightning protection
and requires 1-1/2 inches of surface contact between conductor and
earth rod.

2- Exothermic Welding Clamping:

A simple, self-contained method of forming high quality electrical

connections which requires no external power or heat source. Connections are
made using the high temperature reaction of powdered copper oxide and

Exothermic Welding connections allow conductors to carry higher

currents than other types of connections. They will never loosen, are highly
conductive and have excellent corrosion resistance.

The Exothermic Welding will be explained later in separate aricle.

1.4 Earthing Rod Coupling

In some cases, Depending on the design for a specific earth well, there is
need to drive two or more earth rods into the ground, the individual rods are
coupled to each other by means of earth rod coupling.

There are three types of rod couplers according to the used type of
ground rods as follows:
Unthreaded Coupler for Non- sectional ground rods,
Threaded Coupler for sectional ground rods externally threaded,
Coupling Dowel for sectional ground rods internally threaded.

The coupling material is essentially the same as the material for the
earth rod with respect to the rigidity and the required conductivity.

Earth rod coupling shall have the same diameter of the earth rod.

1.5 Earth Rod Tip

The earth rod tip is used for easy and convenient driving of the earth
rod into the ground because it secures a sharp head for the first rod driven
into ground.

The earth rod tip material is not necessarily the same as the earth
rod itself, as only a rigid quality is essentially required for the tip other than
conductivity. Therefore the earth rod tip is primarily made of steel with
slight coating of the copper for conductivity purpose as well as protection
against corrosion reasons.

Earth rod tip shall have the same diameter of the earth rod.

1.6 Earth Rod Driving Head with Driving Sleeve

During the hammering or driving of rod into the ground, and to protect the
earth rod against impact of hammering, a driving head is screwed onto the
top of the rod with a driving sleeve.

So, the main function of driving sleeve is to prevent Mushrooming top of

ground rod while driving into ground.

And, the main function of a driving head stud is to prevent damage to

the coupler or ground rod threads when driving the ground rods.

The driving head material is not necessarily the same as the earth rod
itself, as only a rigid and robust quality is essentially required for the driving
head to withstand the impact of hammerings. Driving head is practically
discarded when the earth rods are all driven and installed in the ground.

Earthing System Components Part Two

1.7 Earth Access Pit

To provide access to the earth rod and its corresponding connection to

the earthing grid at the top section of the rod, a small pit-like space is
fabricated over the earth well, which is referred to as earth pit.

For periodically measuring the electrical resistance of a buried ground

system, inspection pits are used as a means of access to the ground conductor.
To make electrical resistance measurements, remove the cover and attach a
lead from a resistance measuring instrument to the ground conductor.

1- Earth Pit Sizes:

Inspection pits are available in various sizes and materials.

2- Earth Pits Main Types:

A- According to location:

a- Light Weight Duty

Light-duty units are generally used. For example Plastic Light weight duty earth
pits are schedule 40 PVC.
b- Heavy Duty
For areas of high vehicular traffic, you should use heavy-duty inspection wells.
For example PlasticHeavy duty earth pits are schedule 80 PVC.

B- According to Material
Earth pits side walls are constructed of insulating material to appropriately
isolate the earth rods top connection from the surrounding soil and protect it

for furture reference test and maintenance practices.

The materials used for fabrication of Earth Pits are:
Polymer Concrete: Polymer Concrete reinforced with heavy
weave fiberglass resulting in high strength and minimal weight.
Enclosures and covers rated for 10,000 lbs. maximum load.
Light weight Polymer Concrete,
HDPE (High Density Polyethylene).


Earth pits are essentially, constructed flush with respect to the

surrounding finished ground.

1.8 Earth Pit Cover

To protect the earth pits against ingression of foreign material, an appropriate
concrete cover is provided to be placed atop the earth pit.
The cover is equipped with a rigid handle for convenient removing and
replacement practices.
1- Earth Pit Cover Sizes:
Inspection pits covers are available in various sizes to accommodate the size of
their earthing pits.
2- Earth Pit Cover Materials:

The materials used for fabrication of Earth Pits Covers are:

Cast iron grated cover,

Flat steel cover,
Plastic covers,
Concrete covers.

the ASTM specifications for Earth Pit Covers are as in the below image.

1.9 Earth/ Ground Enhancement Materials (GEM)

Only rarely do grounding system designers and contractors get to work
on a site with good grounding conditions.

Even under ideal circumstances, soil structure can vary and make it
difficult to achieve uniform, low levels of resistivity across a wide area. Under
almost all soil conditions, the use of a ground enhancement material will
improve grounding effectiveness. Some are permanent and require no

1- Where and when Earth Enhancement Materials should be used?

Earth Enhancement Materials improves grounding effectiveness regardless of
soil conditions and provides excellent permanent conductivity:
For areas with high resistance, such as rocky ground, mountain tops, and
sandy soil,

As a backfill when you have to drill because the ground is too hard to
drive, or where ground rods cannot be driven, when used as a backfill for earth
electrodes, soil conditioning agents effectively act to increase the electrodes
surface area thus lowering its resistance to earth.

Where limited space makes adequate grounding difficult by conventional


2- Types of Earth Enhancement Materials

Many types of Earth Enhancement Materials are used improves grounding
effectiveness regardless of soil conditions and provides excellent permanent
conductivity, Like:
A- Carbon and Salt Bedding
Depending on the technical design specification of the earthing system and
primarily for soil conductivity reasons of the area where the earth wells are to
be installed, the earth rods are embedded in carbon bedding. To install the
carbon bedded earth wells, pre-excavation of the ground, to sufficient size and
dimension, would be carried out to provide room for the carbon bedding and
the earthing components (rods, plates, etc.). To achieve the maximum
conductivity for the earth well, an appropriate amount of salt is added to the
carbon and mixed before charging into the earth well.
B- Marconite Compound
Marconite forms a permanent solution when mixed with cement and is used
when certain ground conditions make it difficult to obtain a reliable earth
resistance or installation might require a low resistance.
C- Bentonite Compound:
Bentonite can be supplied in powder or granular form and is a moisture
retaining clay which is used to reduce soil resistivity. It has two types:
1- Granular:
Its easier to handle in granular form, the powder can cause dust in windy
conditions and below away, granular is the preferred option for filling trenches
where the conductor is covered with bentonite and the water poured over and
mixed in the trench.
2- Powder
Powder is the preferred method for pouring into bore holes to ensure the
mixture is a thin enough to reach the bottom of the bore hole, if diamond
drilling is required for deep holes possibly 40 meters and deeper and the
bentonite is to be pumped through the core into the hole, powder will be the
preferred option.

The above image clearly shows, GEM has a resistivity factor more than 20 times
lower than bentonite clay.

3- How to Specify GEM?

Ground enhancement material must be permanent and
maintenance-free (no recharging with salts or chemicals which may be
corrosive) and maintain its earth resistance with time.
It must set up firmly and not dissolve or decompose or otherwise
pollute the soil or the local water table.
The ground enhancement material shall be suitable for installation
in dry form, or in slurry form.
The ground enhancement material shall not depend on the
continuous presence of water to maintain its conductivity.
Ground enhancement material in its set form shall have a
resistivity of not more than 20 ohm-cm.


When selecting a ground enhancement material be sure it is compatible

with the ground rod, conductor and connection material.

4- GEM Installation
GEM is supplied in easy-to-handle bags for one-man installation. GEM can be
installed dry or wet (recommended). GEM quickly absorbs moisture from the
soil when used dry, to reach its maximum conductivity in days. To accelerate
curing time, water can be added after GEM is installed, or it can be pre-mixed
with water.
A- Trench Installation

Dig a trench at least 4 inches wide x 30 inches deep or below the
frost line, whichever is deeper. Spread out enough GEM to uniformly

cover bottom of trench-about 1 inch deep.

Place conductor on top of GEM.
Spread more GEM on top of conductor to completely cover
conductor about 1 inch deep.
Carefully cover the GEM with soil to a depth of about 4 inches,
making sure not to expose the conductor. Tamp down the soil, and then
fill in the trench. For various trench widths and GEM thicknesses, see the
below table.

B- Ground Rod Backfill Installation

Auger a 3 inch or larger diameter hole to a depth of 6 inches less
than the length of the ground rod.
Place ground rod into augered hole and drive one foot (if possible)
into bottom of the hole. The top of the ground rod will be approximately
6 inches below grade. At this time, make any connections to ground rod
using CADWELD connections.
Pour the appropriate amount of GEM around the ground rod. To
ensure the GEM material completely fills the hole, tamp around the
ground rod with a pole.
Fill remainder of augered hole with soil removed during augering.
For various augered-hole diameters and depths, see the below table.

If premixing GEM into a slurry form, use a standard cement mixer or
hard-mix in a mixing box, wheelbarrow, etc. Use 1-1/2 to 2 gallons of clean
water per bag of GEM.

Excess standing water must be removed from the hole.

Enhanced Ground Rod

An Enhanced Ground Rod is a conductive hollow tube ground rod, usually
manufactured from 300 stainless steel or copper. They contain special
hygroscopic, electrolytic salts. These salts form a saline solution by absorbing

moisture out of the atmosphere. This saline solution leaches out of the bottom
of the rod, which gradually lowers resistivity of the surrounding soil, forming
"electrolytic roots" over time.

To increase the efficacy of the Enhanced Ground Rod, a very low

resistance ground enhancement material is placed around the rod.

A conductor is exothermically attached to the enhanced ground rod. This

conductor is called the tail. The tail direction is very important.

Enhanced Ground Rod design allows the current, either lightning or

electrical fault, to maintain a downward sloping path to ground.

There are two basic styles, vertical and horizontal (L-shaped) as in above
image. Enhanced Ground Rod includes a variety of lengths, sectionals and
different kits to meet many specific requirements.

2- Earthing Grid Conductors

All electrical earth wells in a specific residential, commercial and industrial
installation should essentially be interconnected to plant earthing systems with
cables, wires and tapes that form the main earthing grid.
First: Different Types of ground Grid Conductors:

Interconnecting conductors used for the grid are in the following forms:
1- Cable and wire system
The available conductors may be soft-drawn (copper wire that has been heat
treated) or hard-drawn (copper wire that has not been annealed after
drawing), the available grounding conductors are in the following forms:
1.1 Stranded Copper Conductors:

Concentric Lay Soft-Drawn Bare Copper,

Green Insulated Conductors (Concentric Lay Soft-Drawn Bare Copper

with PVC sheath or THW insulation),

Tinned stranded copper conductor.

1.2 Solid Copper Conductors:

Solid Single Soft-Drawn Bare Copper,

Solid Single Soft-Drawn Bare Tinned Copper.

1.3 Flexible Copper Conductors: used as flexible earth bonding leads

Bare copper round braids,

Tinned copper round braids.

2- Flat tape system:

it give Low impedance than equivalent sized round conductor and it will be in
the following forms:


Bare copper tapes,

Tinned copper tapes,
Bare Copper Flat Braid Conductors,
Tinned Copper Flat Braid Conductors.

There are other types of grid conductors used especially for lightning
protection system and will be explained later in lightning protection system
Second: Selection criteria for the best grounding conductor for certain case:
There are two basic criteria for grounding conductor selection:
1- Physical Characteristics
The physical characteristics of the conductor must be of a robust nature,
sufficient for the environment as follows:
The most common ground conductor is a soft drawn, stranded copper
conductor which used for direct buried grid in dry and noncorrosive grounds.

Flat copper strip / tape is also popular because it offers a large surface
area and usually used for direct buried grid in dry and non-corrosive grounds

PVC-Covered copper strip conductor: for direct buried grid in wet or

corrosive ground.

Single core stranded copper conductor with PVC sheath: for direct buried
grid in wet or corrosive grounds.

When site conditions are corrosive towards copper (eg. sulphurous soil), a
tinned copper conductor is often the first choice.
2- Maximum Fault Current
The cross sectional area of the conductor must be of sufficient size, so
that it shall successfully conduct the maximum fault (surge) current for a
period, which allows the operation of protection equipment (or the dissipation
of this energy).

In some circumstances, the maximum fault current for the installation is

small. While a conductor of correspondingly small size could be used, a
minimum cross section often set by the governing authority or applicable
Standards body (to minimize potential damage likely to occur from any future
excavation on the site), is applied.

Where higher fault conditions exist, the conductor size is determined by

considering the circumstances required to avoid fusing (melting) the conductor.

The accepted industry Standard is IEEE 80, Guide for Safety in Substation

Third: Ground Grid Conductors sizing

Ground Grid Conductors sizing will be explained later in the Articles for
grounding system design calculations.

3- Marshaling Earth Bus

To provide easy access to the earthing grid, particularly to make proper

and convenient connections of the equipment to the grid, several common
connection points in the form of a flat bar of copper material are established
and erected through out the grid and referred to as earthing marshalling
points or earthing marshalling bus, or simply as earth bus.

The main incoming earthing cable connected to the earth bus is

branched off from the main earthing grid.

The outgoing earthing cables, connected to the earth bus in one end,
shall be connected to the corresponding equipment on the other end.

All the connections of the main incoming and outgoing earth cables shall

be made to the earth bus by means of appropriate:

Cable lugs the compression type and zink coating, using bolts,
nuts, flat washers and spring washers for well-tight connections,
Exothermic Welding process.

4- Earthing Wires (Cables)

Connections between the marshalling earth buses and the equipments
are carried out by means of single wires or cables of appropriate size, which
are referred to as earthing wire, or earthing link. The connection between
the earthing buses and the earthing grid is also made by means of earthing

Connections of earthing wires (cables) on both ends is made by


Cable lugs the compression type and zink coating, using bolts,
nuts, flat washers and spring washers for well-tight connections,
Exothermic Welding process.

1- earthing wires (cables) Types

Earthing wires and cables are used either bare or PVC-covered
(preferably bare) and are normally single core of the different cross section
area, depending on the design specification.

2- Earthing wires (cables) sizing

The common range of the cable size used is 16mm2, 25mm2, 35,50mm2
and 70mm2. Earthing wires (cables) of smaller and higher size could be used
depending on the design specification and requirements.

Earthing wires (cables) sizing will be explained later in the Articles for
grounding system design calculations.