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22 practices


Section I 22/799
22.1 Grounding electrodes for buildings, industrial installations and
substations 22/799
22.1.1 Plate grounding 22/799
22.1.2 Pipe or rod grounding 22/799
22.1.3 Strip or round conductor grounding 22/800
22.1.4 Numbers and types of grounding electrodes 22/801
22.2 Resistivity of soil (r) 22/802
22.3 Measuring the ground resistance 22/803
22.4 Metal for the grounding conductor 22/803
22.4.1 Size of the grounding conductor 22/804
22.5 Jointing of grounding conductors 22/806
22.6 Maintenance of grounding stations 22/806
Section II 22/806
22.7 Grounding practices in a power generating station 22/806
22.8 Tolerable potential difference at a location 22/806
22.9 Voltage gradients 22/806
22.9.1 Tolerable step voltage (Es) 22/806
22.9.2 Tolerable touch voltage (Et) 22/806
22.9.3 Mesh voltage or safe design voltage (Em) 22/807
22.9.4 Ground potential rise (GPR) 22/807
22.9.5 Transferred voltage (Etr) 22/808
22.9.6 Design parameters 22/808
22.10 Determining the leakage current through a body 22/810
22.10.1 Body resistance 22/810
22.10.2 Ground resistance 22/811
22.11 Measuring the average resistivity of soil 22/812
22.12 Improving the performance of soil 22/812
22.12.1 Conductivity 22/812
22.12.2 Soil moisture and contact resistance 22/812
22.13 Determining the ground fault current 22/812
22.14 Designing a grounding grid 22/813
22.14.1 Minimum size of grid conductors 22/813
22.14.2 Corrosion factor 22/813
22.14.3 Maximum touch and step voltages of a grounding station 22/814
22.14.4 Estimating the value of ground conductor length (L) 22/816
Relevant Standards 22/821
List of formulae used 22/821
Further Reading 22/822
Grounding practices 22/799

The minimum thickness of plate is recommended as
For cast iron 12.0 mm
22.1 Grounding electrodes for For GI or steel 6.3 mm
buildings, industrial For copper 3.15 mm
installations and substations and size not less than 600 mm 600 mm

The following are a few types of grounding electrodes Example 22.1

commonly used for the grounding of buildings, industrial The resistance to ground for a 600 mm 600 mm plate
grounding, considering a sandy soil, treated artificially and
installations, equipment grounding or small and medium- having attained an average soil resistivity of 10 Wm
sized substations. Power generating stations and large
switchyards may experience large ground fault currents
accordingly, grounding electrodes demand a lot more safety R = 10 3.14
4 2 0.6 0.6
considerations and are discussed in Section II.
= 5.22 W
22.1.1 Plate grounding If the plate is 1200 mm 1200 mm then

Refer to Figure 22.1. The approximate resistance to ground

R = 10 3.14
in a uniform soil can be expressed by 4 2 1.2 1.2

r p W (derived from Equation (22.12)) (22.1) = 2.61 W

4 2A From the above the resistance to ground of a plate grounding
is inversely proportional to the square root of the linear
dimension ( A ) of the plate. The variation in resistance with
r = resistivity of soil, considered uniform in W m. the size of the plate is shown in Figure 22.2 considering the
A = area of each side of the plate in m2. resistivity of soil as 10 Wm. Since the ground resistance is
proportional to the resistivity of soil, there would be different
parallel curves for the ground resistance for different values
of resistivity of soil.
15 mm f GI
water pipe Wire mesh Cast iron 22.1.2 Pipe or rod grounding
chamber cover
Refer to Figure 22.3. In this case, the approximate
resistance to ground in a uniform soil can be expressed by
Funnel Inspection chamber
1000 500 600 mm
mm 50 mm f GI
water pipe 5.22
A homogenous layer For r = 10 W m
of coke/charcoal/salt
Ground resistance (W)

and sand 4


1200 1200 12 mm
CI plate 2

0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0

0.6 0.9 1.2
The depth (2000 mm) would vary with the Linear dimensions ( A )(m )
moisture content and quality of soil
Figure 22.2 Variation in resistance to ground with the linear dimensions
Figure 22.1 A typical layout of a plate electrode for a plate grounding, for the same resistivity of soil
22/800 Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook

15 mmf GI 16
water pipe Wire mesh
Cast iron
chamber cover 14

Inspection 12
1000 500
600 mm 10

Resistance to ground (W)

7.88 8
1250 For r = 10 Wm
concrete 6
150mm 150mm
3.86 4

A homogenous layer
of coke/charcoal/salt
and sand 0 50 100 150 200 250 300
Length of electrode (cm)

Figure 22.4 Approximate variation of resistance to ground with the

length of pipe or a rod electrode for a particular value of resistivity of soil
Example 22.2
The resistance to ground of a 19 mm internal diameter pipe,
2.44 m long, with r as 10 W m

R = 100 10 log e 8 244 1 Ohms

100 mm ID, CI pipe
13 mm thick 2p 244 1.9
= 0.65 [loge 1027.37 1]
= 0.65 [6.93 1]
 3.86 W
Figure 22.3 A typical arrangement of a pipe electrode grounding
station Figure 22.4 is drawn for r = 10 W m.

100 r 22.1.3 Strip or round conductor grounding

R= log 8 1 W
2 p  e d
In this case the approximate resistance to ground in a
where uniform soil can be expressed by
 = length of pipe in cm
log e 2  + Q Ohms
d = internal diameter of pipe in cm R= (22.3)
2p  hw
The diameter, thickness and length of the pipe is recommended as where
follows:  = length of strip or rod in cm
h = depth of the strip or rod in cm
Cast iron pipes 100 mm internal diameter, 2.5 to 3 m long and a
13 mm thick. (This is a cumbersome and costlier arrangement, w = width of the strip or diameter of the conductor rod
is not often used) in cm
MS pipes 38 to 50 mm diameter, 2.5 to 3 m long (also not Q = 1 for strip and 1.3 for round conductor grounding.
often used)
Copper or GI rods 13, 16 or 19 mm diameter, 1.22 to 2.44 m a The minimum cross-sectional area of the strip or the
long. rod should be chosen according to the ground fault
current and its duration (Section 22.4.1 and Equation
This type of electrode grounding is more suited for a soil possessing
high resistivity, and the electrode is required to be longer and driven (22.4)). The minimum area of cross-section is
deeper into the soil to obtain a lower resistance to ground. The recommended as
approximate variation in resistance with the length of electrode for
a particular value of resistivity of soil is shown in Figure 22.4, for For copper strip 25 1.6 mm2
general reference. For MS or GI strip 25 4 mm2
Grounding practices 22/801

The performance of this type of electrode grounding is resistance may be achieved by each electrode without
almost the same as for the pipe grounding (Section 22.1.2) infringing on the resistance territory of the other
as is the variation in resistance to the ground with the electrodes as well as economizing on the number of
length of the electrode as in Figure 22.4. electrodes. This use of more than one grounding
station in parallel so that each station is out of the
Example 22.3 resistance zone of the other stations, would alter their
The resistance to ground for a 100 mm 5 mm, 5 m copper cumulative resistance, generally as follows according
strip, buried at a depth of 1.5 m, having a soil resistivity of to Hand Book of Electrical Installation Practices by
100 Wm E. A. Reeves:
R = 100 100 log e 2 500 1
Plate grounding
2 p 500 150 10
For two electrodes 50%
= 3.185 loge 333.33 1 = 3.185 5.81 1
For four electrodes 25%
= 17.50 W
Pipe, rod or strip grounding
If the length of the strip is 25 m, other parameters remaining
the same, then For two electrodes 60%
For three electrodes 45%
2 (2500) 2 For four electrodes 35%
R = 100 100 log e 1
2 p 2500 150 10
For more accurate calculations refer to BS 7430. The
= 0.637 loge 8333.33 1 likely variation is illustrated in the form of the graph
= 0.637 9.03 1
in Figure 22.5.
2 The resistance to ground would vary with depth of
= 4.75 W the electrode. A minimum depth of 1.5 m from ground
to the top of the electrode is considered mandatory,
Note and even deeper to reach damp soil.
We have considered a single length of electrode. If there is more 3 A pipe or strip grounding is more effective than a
than one length the values can be obtained from BS 7430 for different plate grounding.
electrode arrangements. 4 The size of the plate, the length of the pipe or the strip
may be altered to obtain a lower value of ground
22.1.4 Numbers and types of grounding resistance.
electrodes 5 The choice of the metal (Section 22.4) for the grounding
electrode will depend upon the corrosion factor of the
1 The normal ground impedance in LV systems, is
generally high. To achieve a ground fault current of
the order of 11/2 to 3 times the rated current, necessary
to protect a low current system against a ground fault 100
as discussed in Section 21.2.1, would be difficult unless
adequate measures are taken with the grounding
stations to have as low a ground impedance as possible. Pipe grounding
To achieve this, the grounding stations are made
elaborate, at adequate depth, with proper chemical 75
Plate grounding
treatment and watering arrangements to ensure
sufficient moisture throughout the year. This is attained
by a perforated pipe driven from ground level up to 60
electrode (station)
% Resistance per

the electrode. See Figures 22.1 and 22.3, showing

typical arrangements of a grounding station, with a 50
plate grounding and a pipe grounding respectively. 45
Despite this, the ground resistance may still be too
high to meet the design parameters. 35
To overcome this, a number of such grounding
electrodes (two being a bare minimum to provide a 25
double grounding system) may be essential and
connected in parallel to achieve the required low
value of ground resistance. A cumulative resistance
of up to 2.5 W is considered satisfactory. However,
for more effectiveness and to make the ground 0 1 2 3 4
protective circuit more sensitive, a resistance of up Number of electrodes (stations)
to 1 W would be better. The grounding stations may
be separated, centre to centre, by 2 m or more, to be
out of each others resistance zone. A better gap Figure 22.5 Likely variation in ground resistance with more than
would be around 4.5 to 6 m, when full ground one electrode connected in parallel
22/802 Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook

soil. But all metals are equally good and possess a life 22.2 Resistivity of soil (r)
span of 12 years and more. For a longer working life,
the thickness of the electrode may be increased as
This will depend upon the type and quality of soil and its
discussed in Section 22.4.1, GI* being a more preferred
chemical composition, i.e. the composition of salts and
metal for grounding purposes. Choice of the metal
minerals, content of moisture and normal rainfall during
for the ground electrode would, however, depend upon
the year. Table 22.1 obtained from BS 7430 and Table
the underground municipal services, such as water,
22.2 from IEEE 80 show the likely resistivity of different
sewerage and telephone lines and also the structures
types of soils in ohm-metres. These are only likely values
and foundations of nearby buildings to save them
for a general reference. It is recommended that where a
from corrosion and erosion. Copper, being galvanic,
grounding station is to be installed, the soil is tested at
under damp conditions forms a complete electrolytic
nearby locations and an average value of the soil resistivity
circuit between it and other metals and causes
is determined, as discussed in Section 22.11. The condition
corrosion, which erodes the other metals (an effect
of soil, such as its moisture content, temperature and
similar to that discussed in Section 29.2.5, while
content of salts and other minerals have a large bearing
making a bimetallic joint).
on its resistivity. Figure 22.6 illustrates the effects of
6 Any of the grounding methods may be adopted for
such factors on the resistivity of soil. While the temperature
buildings, industrial installations, equipment grounding
of the soil is a fixed parameter, at a particular location of
or small and medium-sized substations, depending
the grounding station the soil can be artificially treated
upon the type and condition of the soil. A sandy soil
to improve the content of moisture and chemical composi-
will be easy to dig and plate grounding will be easier,
tion, to achieve a lower value of soil resistivity. It has
while a rocky soil will present problems in digging
and a pipe, rod or strip grounding would be easier.
Similarly, dry soil will require deeper digging, where Table 22.2 Range of soil resistivity
a pipe, rod or strip grounding would be a better choice.
Type of soil Average resistivity

*Apparently GI seems to be the best metal as a grounding electrode. Wet organic soil 10
But if part of the zinc coating of the metal is chipped due to poor Moist soil 102
coating or due to any other reason, the metal is rendered prone to Dry soil 103
rapid corrosion and erosion and may fail with passage of time. Bedrock 104
Some users therefore prefer to use bare MS conductor rather than
GI. Based on IEEE-80

Table 22.1 Likely resistivity of soil

Climatic conditions
Type of soil Normal and high Low rainfall or desert condition
rainfall (more than (less than 250 mm a year) Underground
500 mm a year) water salinity
Resistivity of soil
Wm Wm Wm Wm
(Likely value) (Likely range of values)
a a
Alluvium and lighter clays, such as sandy 5 1 to 5
and/or muddy soil
Clays (excluding alluvium) 10 5 to 20 10 to 100
Marls like keuper marl such as marble 20 10 to 30 5 to 300
Porous limestone like chalk 50 30 to 100
Porous sandstone such as keuper sandstone 100 30 to 300
and clay shales
Quartzites compact and crystalline limestone 300 100 to 1000
such as carboniferous marble
Clay slates and slaty shales 1000 300 to 3000 1000 upwards 30 to 100
Granite 1000
Fossil slates, schists, gneiss, igneous rocks 2000 1000 upwards

Based on BS 7430
Depends upon the water level of the locality
Grounding practices 22/803

103 103 103

Resistivity of soil (W-m)

Resistivity of soil (W-m)

Resistivity of soil (W-m)

102 102 102

10 10 10

1 1 1
0 10 20 30% 20 0 20 40 60C 0 5 10 15 20%
Content of moisture Soil temperature Effect of salt
(a) (b) (c)

Figure 22.6 Effect of moisture content, temperature and salt on the resistivity of soil

been found that the resistivity of soil can be reduced by

1590% by a chemical treatment with the following salts
Normal salt (NaCl) and a Economical and most
Current tester
mixture of salt and soft coke commonly used salts
Magnesium sulphate (MgSO4)
Copper sulphate (CuSO4)
Calcium chloride (CaCl2) G
A Ground
More common salts
Sodium carbonate (Na2CO3) level

Refer to Figures 22.1 and 22.3, illustrating a normal Potential

arrangement of grounding stations with provision for probes
chemical or salt treatment. The salts used need not be in Ground
direct contact with the electrode. station
3m 3m

22.3 Measuring the ground  25 m

Figure 22.7 Measuring the ground resistance with the help of a
The above tables can give only a general idea of the ground tester
theoretical value of resistivity of the soil at a particular
site for the purpose of design work. The exact resistance now the same, consider this as the actual ground resistance
of the grounding station must be determined at the site of station G, otherwise shift probe A farther away until a
of installation to support theoretical assumptions and the constant reading is obtained.
grounding conditions adjusted, if necessary, to obtain The same test can also be conducted with the help of
the required ground resistance. The resistance of a a battery, voltmeter and an ammeter, as illustrated in
grounding station can be measured with the help of a Figure 22.8. The voltmeter must now indicate the same
ground tester, which generates a constant voltage for reading at all three locations. When V becomes constant,
accurate measurement. The tester has two potential and read the current I. Then the ground resistance
one current probe. The procedure of measurement is
illustrated in Figure 22.7. Rg = V W
One of the potential probes A is drilled into the ground To measure ground resistance promptly and accurately
at about 25 m from the grounding station G, whose manual and automatic, analogue as well as digital ground
resistance is to be measured. The second probe B is placed resistance testers (or ground testers) are available.
between the two. The current lead of the meter is connected Depending upon application one can choose an analogue
to the grounding station. The meter will indicate some or digital tester.
resistance, which may be noted. Two more readings are
also taken by shifting the centre probe B by almost 3 m
on either side of the original location. For an accurate 22.4 Metal for the grounding
value of the ground resistance, the values obtained must
be same. If they are not, the probe B is still within the conductor
resistance area of the grounding station G. Shift away
probe A by another 6 m or so and place probe B between Copper, aluminium, steel and galvanized iron are the
G and A, and repeat the test. If the three readings are most widely used metals for the purpose of grounding.
22/804 Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook

Switch Battery Choice of any of them will depend upon availability and
A economics in addition to the climatic conditions (corrosion
effect) at the site of installation. In Table 22.3 we provide
a brief comparison of these metals for the most appropriate
V choice of the metal for the required application.
B1 B2
G B A Ground 22.4.1 Size of the grounding conductor
This is a matter of system design and is different for LV
and HV systems, as discussed above. The main criterion
when determining the size of the ground conductor is to
Ground sustain the rated short-time ground fault current of the
station system for the required duration, without damage to or
3m 3m
permanent deformation of the ground conductor and to
limit its temperature rise within permissible limits. It
 25 m
will also limit the voltage drop within 55 volts between
any two grounded points with which a human body may
come into contact. However, for all practical purposes,
Figure 22.8 Measuring the ground resistance with the help of an the minimum size of conductor as determined below for
ammeter and a voltmeter
a required fault level will generally be adequate to limit

Table 22.3 Comparison of grounding metals

No. Characteristics Copper Aluminium Steel Galvanized iron

1 2 3 4

1 Conductivity (%) 100 61 3040 8.5

(for annealed copper) (for EC grade aluminium) (for copper-clad steel core) (for Zn-coated steel)

2 Resistance to High. Being cathodic Highly corrosive and is, Corrosive. Copper-clad High, and is extensively
corrosion with respect to other therefore not preferred steel may be used to used for ground
metals, which may be for underground overcome this deficiency connections and grids
buried in the vicinity connections or ground
electrodes. For surface
connections, however,
where it is less corrosive
and highly conductive,
compared to steel or steel
alloys it is preferred

3 Galvanic effecta Copper is a galvanic

metal and causes
corrosion, in the presence
of moisture, in nearby
metals, such as cable
sheathes, steel structure These are not galvanic but become anodic in the vicinity of copper and erode
and water, gas or drain
pipes, buried in its
vicinity. With all such
metals, it forms a
complete electrolytic
circuit and corrodes
them. Tinning may give
protection against its
galvanic effects but this
is an expensive

4 Approximate cost 100 50 10 15

considerations (%) Therefore most appropriate
and economical
This occurs when two dissimilar metals in an electrolyte have a metallic tie between them. There is a flow of electricity between the anodic
and cathodic metal surfaces, generated by the local cells set between dissimilar metals. One metal becomes an anode and the other a cathode
and causes an anodic reaction which represents acquisition of charges by the corroding metal. The anode corrodes and protects the cathode,
as current flows through the electrolyte between them.
Grounding practices 22/805

the voltage drop within the safe limits. For more details Note
refer to IEC 62271-200. For other grounding materials, or hazardous locations requiring a
The surface ground conductor can be of aluminium, much lower end temperature, refer to BS 7430.
GI or copper, as discussed earlier. A humid or a chemically
Example 22.4
contaminated location is corroding in nature. Aluminium Consider an LV power distribution system having the main
has a rapid reaction and is fast corroding. At such locations, incoming feeder rated for 400 A and the outgoing feeders
use of GI or copper conductor would be more appropriate. rated up to 200 A. To calculate the main ground conductor
Table 22.4 suggests the ground conductor sizes for size, assume that the system is protected through HRC fuses.
aluminium conductor power cables for small and medium- Then, based on the previous assumptions (Table 21.2)
rating feeders when aluminium is used for the ground Ground fault current, Ig = 3 400
conductor. For a GI ground conductor, this size may be
roughly doubled. = 1200 A
For large feeders and HV systems the ground fault and interrupting time of 400 A HRC fuses, referring to
current would be controlled naturally through the ground characteristic curves of Figure 21.4  60 seconds
circuit impedance and a smaller ground conductor may \ Ground conductor size for an aluminium conductor
S = 1200 60
Note 126
In LV systems, where the neutral is grounded, the neutral as well as  74 mm2
the ground conductor may have to carry unbalanced currents up to
half the rating of the line currents due to single-phase loads. A

ground conductor should also be rated for the same size as the i.e. 25 mm 3 mm 1 1
neutral, irrespective of the setting of the relay. 8

Now Equation (22.4) as suggested by BS 7430 will or any other cross-section of an equivalent area.
apply, which is based on our discussions in Section 21.2.1, If the conductor is of Gl then,
where the ground system is normally predetermined for
three times the rated current of the circuit for an HRC S = 1200 60
fuse-protected system or one and a half times for an
over-current release-protected system: or  116 mm2

Ig or 25 mm 5 mm (1 1 )
S= t (22.4)
k or any other cross-section of an equivalent area.
where It could similarly be calculated for the individual outgoing
S = cross-sectional area of a bare ground conductor in circuits, or considered equivalent to half the cable size being
used to feed the circuit.
Ig = r.m.s. value of the ground fault current in amperes
Example 22.5
k = r.m.s. current density in A/mm2. This will depend If a distribution system is fed from a 1600 kVA, 11 kV/415 V,
upon the material of the conductor and its maximum transformer, then
permissible temperature. For more common metals
I r = 1600 1000 A
it may have the following values, assuming the initial
temperature of the conductor to be 40C. 3 415
Copper = 205 A/mm2, assuming the final
temperature to be 395C = 2225 A
Aluminium = 126 A/mm2, assuming the final If the system is protected through over-current releases, then
temperature to be 325C applying the same assumptions as before:
Steel or GI = 80 A/mm2, assuming the final Ground fault current, Ig = 1.5 2225 A
temperature to be 500C
t = duration of fault in seconds (operating time of the and the maximum tripping time at this current, referring to
protective device). characteristics curves of Figure 21.3
= 370 seconds
Table 22.4 Size of aluminium ground conductor for different
sizes of power cables for a grounding system \ Ground conductor size for an aluminium conductor

Sr. no. Power cable size Ground conductor size S = 1.5 2225 370
1 Up to 25 mm2 Same as the cable size = 509.5 mm2
2 Above 2550 mm2 25 mm2
3 Above 50 mm2 Approximately half the size of the or 100 mm 5 mm
main cable size. Say, for a 400
mm 2 main cable, a ground or 100 mm 6 mm
conductor of 185 mm2, will be
adequate or any other cross-section of an equivalent area.
If the conductor is of Gl then
22/806 Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook

S = 1.5 2225
over the station is the basic criterion on which is based
80 the design of a grounding system for a power generating
 802.5 mm2 station. Our discussion is also applicable to outdoor
switchyards and large substations. For detailed working,
or 80 mm 10 mm or it is advisable to refer to IEEE-80.
any other cross-section of an equivalent area. The following basic data are important for the design
of such a grounding system.

22.5 Jointing of grounding

22.8 Tolerable potential difference at
a location
As discussed in Section 29.2.5, jointing of two different
metals (copper being one) causes electrolysis at the joints, We discussed in Section 21.1.1 the maximum tolerable
leading to corrosion and failure of the joint. To avoid currents through a human body and their duration. The
this, it is recommended that the same procedure be adopted potential difference in a ground conductor at any point
as discussed in Section 29.2. Where the electrode and where a human body may come into contact with it during
the connecting ground strip are of the same metal, then the course of a ground fault should be such that the
the joints are riveted or welded with the same metal after resultant current through the human body will remain
making the surface. Soldering is not recommended. within these tolerable limits.

22.9 Voltage gradients

22.6 Maintenance of grounding
stations The likely positions, in which a human body may come
into contact with a phase or a ground conductor, and the
To ensure that a grounding station has not deteriorated corresponding potential differences, that he may be
and its ground resistance has not increased due to soil exposed to, are illustrated in Figure 22.9.
depletion it is mandatory to carry out a few checks
periodically to ascertain the resistance of the grounding 22.9.1 Tolerable step voltage, Es
station. If the ground resistance is found more than it
was designed for, it is possible that by proper moistening This is the difference in the surface potential to which a
of the soil or by adding more salts or chemicals to the human body may be subject when bridging a distance of
grounding pit, the desired level of ground resistance is 1 metre on the conducting ground through the feet without
achieved once more. If not, then additional grounding being in contact with any other conducting grounded
stations may have to be installed to obtain the original surface (position 1, Figure 22.9).
level of the ground resistance. The safe step voltage, Es, should not be more than the
total resistance to ground through the body, R2fsb (Section
22.10.1) safe body current, Ib, as a function of time, where
SECTION II R2fsb = 6 Cs rs + 1000 W (from Equation (22.10),
discussed later)
22.7 Grounding practices in a power and I b = 0.116 for a 50 kg body, as in Equation (21.2)
generating station t

= 0.157 for a 70 kg body, as in Equation (21.3)

This is a vast subject, on which extensive research has t
been done by many authors and field engineers over the
years. The grounding stations in such areas are normally \ Es(50) (6 Cs rs + 1000) 0.116 for a 50 kg body
spread over the entire station, and sometimes may even t
extend beyond its boundary to achieve the desired results. (22.5)
Here we discuss briefly, the basic criteria behind the
elaborate requirement of a grounding system in a power and Es(70) (6 Cs rs + 1000) 0.157 for a 70 kg body
station and its design considerations. t
The magnitude of ground voltage in such areas in the (22.6)
event of a ground fault is very high, due to high system
voltage. On a ground fault, the ground path resistance 22.9.2 Tolerable touch voltage (Et)
may become a source of a high potential gradient across
the grounding conductors at a particular location. It may This is the potential difference between the ground
become high enough to prove fatal to a human operator potential rise (GPR) and the surface potential at a point
coming into contact with it. To limit this potential where the person is standing on the conducting ground
difference at all locations within a tolerable value and with one hand in contact with a conducting rounded
achieve an equipotential distribution of a ground conductor surface (position 2, Figure 22.9). The safe touch voltage,
Grounding practices 22/807

Transmission line Outdoor Indoor


Bus duct

H.V. side


2 Em
1 Etr

Es Generator transformer Generator


1 Es Step voltage
Indoor/ 2 Et Touch voltage
outdoor Indoor 3 Em Mesh voltage
(max. touch voltage)
4 Etr Transferred voltage
Bus duct

H.V. side

3 4

2 Em
1 Et

Es Utility auxiliary transformer Switchgear


Figure 22.9 Likely positions in which a human body may come in contact with phase and the ground conductors and the corresponding voltage
gradients (illustrated through the layout of Figure 13.21)

Et, should not be more than the total resistance to ground basic design parameters, which will decide the required
through the body, R2fps (Section 22.10.1) safe body size of ground mat and the design of mesh. In all our
current, Ib, as a function of time, where future assumptions, we consider the average weight of a
human body to be 70 kg.
R2fps = 1.5Cs rs + 1000 W (from Equation (22.11)
discussed later) 22.9.3 Mesh voltage or safe design voltage (Em)
Et(50) (1.5Cs rs + 1000) 0.116 This is the maximum touch voltage of a grounding station
t that may occur under the worst situation (position 3,
for a 50 kg body (22.7) Figure 22.9). The design of the grounding station must
ensure that in actual service this voltage does not exceed
and Et(70) (1.5Cs rs + 1000) 0.157 the permissible tolerable limits noted in Section 22.9.6.
for a 70 kg body (22.8) 22.9.4 Ground potential rise (GPR)
Of the safe step and touch voltages, the requirement of This is the maximum voltage, that a station grounding
the safe touch voltage Et is more stringent. These are grid (ground mat) may attain during a ground fault in the
22/808 Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook

presence of a remote grounding network. In normal keeping a safety margin in the allowable body current
conditions the grounded grid potential may be regarded and its duration. In an automatic reclosure power
as zero, except transferred voltages and surge pilferages system, reclosure after a ground fault is common
that may be caused during a transient state (Section 18.5.2). practice in modern power systems. This may result
During a ground fault the current will flow through the in repeat shocks in quick succession to a human
grounding grid and cause its potential to rise with respect body coming into contact with the ground conductor.
to a remote grounding station. This voltage rise is seen Although this situation may last for less than 0.5 s,
to go up to 25 kV, but generally not beyond 10 kV (IEEE it may prove fatal. A reasonable allowance for such
367) and can be expressed by an eventuality should be made when deciding on
the clearing time.
GPR Ig . Rg
Since a switchyard is normally connected to more
where than one supply system, the ground fault current in a
Ig = fault current through the grounding grid power station is contributed by the power plant as well
and Rg = grid resistance at the station grounding grid, as by the switchyard and the transmission networks. The
with respect to the remote ground. following possibilities may arise:
The larger the grounded grid area, the lower will be the 1 When there is a fault in the local generating area
grid resistance, and the lower the GPR and the mesh voltage. (Figure 22.10(a)) the return path will be through the
grounded neutral of the generator. The switchyards
22.9.5 Transferred voltage (Etr)
This may also be considered to be a type of touch voltage Remote Local
source power station
where the voltage may be transferred into a switchyard
G2 G1
or a generating area as a result of a ground fault somewhere
The step and touch
in the power network in one of the supply sources and a voltages are not affected Ig1
person standing in the local area of one grid station comes *
I g2 in the generator area Ig1
into contact with a grounded conducting part, grounded
at a remote grid station or vice versa (position 4, Figure
22.9). In such a situation, if a ground fault occurs, the
potential to ground may exceed the full GPR of the local
grounding grid where the person is standing. The Ig2
transferred voltage may exceed the sum of the two GPRs Ig2 Ig1
of the two grounding grids, due to the induced voltages G G
in the steel structures, neutral wires and metallic pipes in
the vicinity. It is not practical to make provisions for O/G
such an eventuality in the design of a station grounding Ig2 Ig1
grid. To safeguard a human body from such voltages,
IEEE 80 has recommended providing isolating devices, *I g2 will exist only if the source is grounded star
such as surge arresters or display danger boards at suitable [If it is D or isolated neutral Ig2 = 0]
locations. For more details, refer to the Standard. (a) Fault at the local area

22.9.6 Design parameters

Remote Local
There are a few important parameters that must be source power station
determined before beginning the detailed engineering of G2 G1
a grounding station.
Ig2 Ig1
Maximum ground grid current and its duration
This is the maximum grid ground fault current, IG, that GT GT
may occur during the lifetime of the power plant. It may
increase to the sum of two GPRs as noted above, i.e. up I g2
to 80 kA or even higher (IEEE 367). For system fault I g1
levels refer to Table 13.10. It is advisable to carry out
fault current studies every few years to assess the actual
fault level compared to those considered at the time of
designing the grounding system. It is possible that the Ig1 + Ig2 O /G
generating capacity of the power station and so also its I g1
fault level has increased with time. Ig2
(b) Fault at a remote location
ts duration of fault. Typical values may range between
0.25 and 1.0 s Figure 22.10 Contribution to ground fault currrent by other supply
ts1 shock duration. The value may be considered by sources when more than one system is operating in parallel
Grounding practices 22/809

other remote power sources may also contribute to 3 When the generator and the switchyard grounding mats
this fault as illustrated, provided that they are grounded are inter-connected the ground fault current will divide
star. An isolated star or delta-connected source will between the two, depending upon their ground resistances,
remain unaffected by remote faults. The step and touch in inverse proportions (Figure 22.11) such that
voltages in the generator area will not be affected.
The GT (generator transformer) area and the nearby Ig = Ig1 + Ig2
steel structures will develop high step and touch
voltages. I g Rg
and I g1 =
2 Similarly, when a fault occurs some distance from R1
the generating area then this area will feed the remote
fault as did the remote sources in the generator area I g Rg
in the previous case, thus, developing step and touch and I g2 =
voltages in the generator area (Figure 22.10(b)).
The flow of circulating currents in the grounding R1 R2
conductors or ground of region two caused between where Rg =
R1 + R2
two or more inter-connected grounding stations, for a
fault occurring in region one is termed the telluric effect. For the grounding grid to remain effective over long
years of operation, in view of existing ground parallel paths
Remote Local provided by other grounding stations in the vicinity and
source power station
expansion of the power system in future, a more
G2 G1 meticulous design would also consider the following
Ig2 Ig1
Resistance of the grounding grid
Division of the ground fault current, Ig, between the
G Ig2 Ig1 G other parallel ground paths
Ig2 Grid bus
The decrement factor to account for future expansion,
Ig2 if any, and
Ig1 The asymmetry (d.c. component, Section 13.4.1(8)).
\ IG = I g D f (22.9)

O /G Ig1 where
IG = maximum ground fault current
Ig2 Ig = symmetrical ground fault current
Df = decrement factor
Power plant
Grounding mat ground circuit
Safe design voltage
ground circuit Of all the grounding grid voltages derived above, the


E t70 = 157
t (Upper voltage
157 limit)
E t50 = 116
Touch voltage (E t, E m )

R1 R2 150 t

Ig1 Ig2 116

Power plant Switchyard
area area
(Lower voltage
(b) 80 limit)
Ig = Total symmetrical fault current
Ig1 = Fault current shared by the power plant area
Ig2 = Fault current shared by the switchyard area
R1 = Resistance of the power plant ground circuit 0.5 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 910
R2 = Resistance of the switchyard ground circuit 0.8 1.46 3.2 5.8
Allowable time (sec.)
Figure 22.11 Sharing of fault current by the power plant and the
switchyard areas Figure 22.12 Limits of touch voltages as a function of time
22/810 Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook

mesh voltage or the maximum touch voltage, Em, must resistance is considered universally, as 1000 W which
fall within the safe limits and it forms the basic design has yielded satisfactory results.
parameter. The design of the grounding system must 2 To determine the total resistance of the ground circuit
ensure that on a ground fault the actual touch voltage Em through the human body, the following may be adopted.
will not exceed the maximum tolerable touch voltage Et
mentioned above. An ideal design would mean a potential R2fs = resistance between the two feet in series
difference in the range of 65130 V. For illustration, a R2fp = resistance between the two feet in parallel
graph is drawn of Et versus time, as shown in Figure There are many formulae to determine the above, all
22.12, assuming that there is no crushed rock and rs = 0. leading to almost the same results. The most adopted,
The graph reveals that a human body weighing 50 kg assuming a layer of crushed rock (gravel) over the
can endure a shock voltage of 65 V for almost 3.2 s and ground surface, is expressed by
130 V for almost 0.8 s. Similarly, a body weighing 70 kg
can endure a shock voltage of 65 V for almost 5.8 s and R2fs = 6 Cs rs
130 V for almost 1.46 s. A higher touch voltage than 130
V would require a yet faster isolation of the fault. Usually and total touch resistance R2fsb through the body
50 V is considered as safe touch voltage. R2fsb = 6 Cs rs + Rb
= 6 Cs rs + 1000 (22.10)
22.10 Determining the leakage
and R2fp = 1.5 Cs rs
current through a body
and total step resistance, R2fps, through the body
22.10.1 Body resistance R2fps = 1.5 Cs rs + Rb
1 The proportion of the leakage current through a human = 1.5 Cs rs + 1000 (22.11)
body will depend upon the resistance of the body
compared to the resistance through the ground. To where Rb = body resistance
determine the likely body current it is therefore essential
to determine the average body resistance. On this  1000 W
subject many studies have been made and the following
data established (Figure 22.13): Cs = reduction factor for derating the nominal value
of surface layer resistivity, corresponding to a
a = resistance hand to hand = 2300 W crushed rock layer of thickness hs and a reflection
b = resistance hand to feet = 1130 W factor k
(A leather shoe is considered as a part of the body) where
c = resistance between the two feet =1000 W r rs
It is observed that the bodys resistance diminishes at r + rs
higher voltages, above 1 kV or currents more than and
1 A, passing through the body, due to a puncture of r = ground resistivity in Wm
the skin tissues. For all safety measures and ground rs = crushed rock (gravel) resistivity in Wm
design consideration, the average human body
To achieve a high contact resistance as a measure to provide higher
a safety to personnel working in the power plant and switchyard
areas, common practice is to spread a layer of concrete or crushed
rocks (gravel) over the finished ground surface. In the power plant
area, a layer of concrete (150300 mm), depending upon the station
voltage is spread to provide a resistivity of nearly 500 Wm or more.
In the switchyard area, a layer of crushed rocks is spread (75150
mm) to provide a resistivity of nearly 25003000 Wm or more. The
value of Cs can be read from the hs versus k curves provided by
IEEE 80, as in Figure 22.14.

Example 22.6
Consider a large substation grounding system, having a layer
of crushed rock, 150 mm thick at the surface, having a resistivity
= R2fs of 3000 Wm and the soil resistivity of 150 Wm:
\ k = 150 3000 = 2850
150 + 3000 3150
= 0.90
\ Cs from Figure 22.14, corresponding to a rock surface of
Figure 22.13 Resistances of different body parts 150 mm
Grounding practices 22/811

K =0 the grounding station) at a certain depth h from the ground

surface may be expressed by
r p + r
0.1 Rg = (22.12)
0.85 4 A L
0.2 where
0.68 r p = ground resistance at the surface of the soil
0.6 4 A
Cs in terms of k

0.4 and r
= ground resistance of the total buried length
0.4 0.5 L (L) of the conductors
0.6 Rg = station ground resistance in W
r = average resistivity of soil in Wm

0.2 0 This will depend upon the condition of the

. soil and its moisture content. This is why it is
0. 5 usually high where the moisture content is less
than 15% of the weight of soil. The variation
0 0.04 0.08 0.12 0.16 0.20 0.24 in soil resistivity is, however, low when the
0.15 0.25 moisture content exceeds 22%.
hs (metres)
A = area of the grounding grid
Figure 22.14 Reduction factor Cs as a function of reflection factor k (i) in a rectangular grid
and thickness of crushed rock (gravel) h s
A = a b m2 (Figure 22.15)
a = length of the grid in m and
\ Ground resistance between the two feet in series b = width of the grid in m
R 2fs = 6 0.7 3000 (ii) In a circular grid
= 12 600 W A = p r2 m2
and in parallel where
R2fp = 1.5 0.7 3000 r = radius of the grid in m
= 3150 W
Number of
Having determined the actual ground loop resistance grounding rods = ng Grounding rods
through the body, one can find the ground leakage current GL
that may flow through a human body during an actual ground
fault under different body touch conditions with the grounding
For example, referring to Example 22.8 and Table 22.6,
the safe touch voltage, E t, in the power plant area is
estimated at 267 V. For this voltage, the leakage current, Ig ,
through the two feet when in parallel which is a more severe
case, h h

I g =
R 2fp

= 267 1000 mA
= 84.76 mA

22.10.2 Ground resistance a b

Number of
The ground resistance is a function of the area occupied Number of conductors = n b
by the grounding station and the stratification of the soil. conductors = n a
The stratification of the soil is usually of a non-uniform Grounding grid
nature and may vary the resistivity of soil vertically as h Average depth of grid below the ground surface
well as horizontally, thus varying the resistance of soil.
The minimum value of ground resistance (resistance of Figure 22.15 Area of a grounding grid and length of buried conductors
22/812 Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook

L = total length of the buried conductors in m Ig

= Lc + Lr (see also Section 22.14.4)
Lc = total length of conductors, used in the grid in m Switch Battery
and Lr = total length of the grounding rods in m V

If there are na number of conductors lengthwise and GL a a a

nb widthwise and ng = number of grounding rods used in
a grounding grid at a depth of h, then the total length of p1
the buried conductors
L = na b + nb a + ng h metres (22.13)
With an increase in the length of the buried ground p2
conductors, the value of their ground resistance diminishes.
It has been found that Equation (22.13) is more accurate
for a grid depth up to 250 mm. At greater depths of
station grids, a more accurate representation is found in Probes V
the following equation: For accurate results keep b

Rg = r 1 + 1 1 Figure 22.16 Measuring the resistivity of soil
20 A
1+ (22.14)
L 1 + h 20/A
probe spacing and deeply through the soil for larger
spacing. As the soil resistivity may vary widely, it is
22.11 Measuring the average recommended that a wider assessment of the soil strata
resistivity of soil be made by varying the probe spacing a and thus
determining the variation in soil resistivity at the location
It is important to determine the average resistivity of soil of the grid. The reflection factor, k, as noted below, forms
at every site where a grounding station is to be located. an important parameter in the evaluation of a more accurate
To do this, a soil test is essential. For this, samples may resistivity of soil where
be collected from a number of nearby locations at the r 2 r1
site to arrive at an average value. As a result of soil k=
stratification, samples must be collected at different depths r 2 + r1
to ascertain variation in the resistivity to decide on a
and r1 = resistivity of the upper larger strata of soil
suitable depth for the grounding grid. For simplicity,
r2 = resistivity of the lower larger strata of soil
Tables 22.1 and 22.2 suggest the likely average range of
resistivity for different kinds of soils and their moisture
A simple way to measure the resistivity of soil is a
22.12 Improving the performance of
four-pin method in which four probes are drilled into the soil
ground along a straight line at equal distances a and
depth b. Then a voltage V is applied to the two inner 22.12.1 Conductivity
probes and a current, Ig, is measured in the two outer
probes (Figure 22.16). This test can also be conducted As noted in Section 22.2, the use of salts such as
with the help of a ground tester as discussed in Section magnesium, copper sulphate or calcium chloride in the
22.3, which normally also has a provision for this test. vicinity of the ground grid may improve the conductivity
The soil resistance of the soil.

Rg = V 22.12.2 Soil moisture and contact resistance

Ground or crushed rock coverings, about 80150 mm
4 p a Rg thick, are useful to slow the evaporation of soil moisture
and r = and hence retain the moisture of the topsoil layers. It
2a a
1+ will also diminish the intensity of shock currents due to
a 2 + 4b 2 a2 + b2 higher contact resistance between the feet and the soil.
Typical values may vary from 1000 to 5000 Wm.
Since generally

a >> b for accurate results keep b a 22.13 Determining the ground fault
\ r  2 p a Rg (22.15)
The current tends to flow near the surface for smaller Based on IEEE-80 recommendations, the following
Grounding practices 22/813

simplified formula may be used to determine the ground rs = specific weight in g/cm3
fault current in the event of a phase to ground fault: t = duration of fault in seconds
20 = thermal coefficient of resistivity at a
V reference temperature of 20C
Ig = (see Section 20.4 or Table 13.5)
3 [ Z1 + Z 2 + Z 0 ] r20 = resistivity of ground conductor at a
reference temperature of 20C in m W/cm
where K0 (at 0C) = reciprocal of 0
Ig = ground fault current
V = line voltage = 1 20
Z1 = positive sequence equivalent system impedance, 20
W/phase at the location of the fault
Z2 = negative sequence equivalent system impedance, tmax = maximum allowable temperature in C
W/phase at the location of the fault. tamb = ambient temperature in C
Z0 = zero sequence equivalent system impedance, Typical values of the above constants for the most widely
W/phase at the location of the fault. used metals are given in Table 22.5, based on IEEE-80.
Example 22.7 in a tabular form gives a procedure to
determine the grounding grid conductor size.
22.14 Designing a grounding grid
22.14.2 Corrosion factor
22.14.1 Minimum size of grid conductors
Corrosion takes place in all metal conductors located in
This can be calculated from the formula derived by Sverak a humid environment, ground electrodes, being one
and recommended by IEEE-80: example. It is therefore mandatory that certain corrosion
Ig margins are considered when choosing the size of ground
A= (22.16) electrodes to account for this in the long run, particularly
Tcap 10 4
K + t max during the considered life span of the generating station,
log e 0 switchyard or substations. Handbooks on corrosion suggest
t 20 r20 K 0 + t amb
likely corrosion depths. For steel this is considered to be
where around 2.2% per year. For GI it will be much less.
A = cross-sectional area of ground conductor Considering economics of steel over GI it is a common
in mm2 practice to use only steel for such extensive and elaborate
Ig = ground fault current in kA (r.m.s.) grounding stations. For steel grids, the depth of corrosion
This may be substituted with the estimated in 12 years is estimated to be around 3.48 mm in a soil
maximum ground grid current, IG (Section having a pH value of 7.4. This figure can be used to
22.9.6), that may occur during the life of determine the depth of corrosion for any number of years.
the grounding station Considering the lifespan of a power generating station as
Tcap = thermal capacity factor from Table 22.5, 40 years, the depth of corrosion during this period would be
in J/cm3/C. This is derived from formula
(4.184) rh rs in Ws/cm3/C (for details
3.48 1 + 1 + 1 + . . . 1
refer to IEEE-80) 1 2 3 40
rh = specific heat of ground conductor in Cal/ =
1 1 1
gram/ C + + +... 1
1 2 3 12

Table 22.5 Material constants

Description Conductivity K 0 = 1 20 tmax, fusing r 20 Tcap
% a 20 temperature C mW/cm J/cm3/ C

Standard annealed soft copper wire 100.0 0.00393 234 1083 1.7241 3.422
Commercial hard drawn copper wire 97.0 0.00381 242 1084 1.7774 3.422
Copper-clad steel core wire 40.0 0.00378 245 1084/1300 4.397 3.846
Copper-clad steel core wire 30.0 0.00378 245 1084/1300 5.862 3.846
Commercial EC aluminium wire 61.0 0.00403 228 657 2.862 2.556
Aluminium alloy wire 5005 53.5 0.00353 263 660 3.2226 2.598
Aluminium alloy wire 6201 52.5 0.00347 268 660 3.2840 2.598
Aluminium-clad steel core wire 20.3 0.00360 258 660/1300 8.4805 2.670
Zinc-coated steel core wire 8.5 0.00320 293 419/1300 20.1 3.931
Stainless steel No. 304 2.4 0.00130 749 1400 72.0 4.032

Refer to Figure 22.17 giving the nomograms for more widely used metals to determine the size of conductor A in terms of duration of fault.
22/814 Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook

A/mm2 mm2/kA checked for these limits. If it exceeds these limits the
20 50 station must be redesigned, to contain the actual step
25 40 and touch voltages within the prescribed levels.
30 IEEE-80 has suggested the following formulae in terms
40 of ground current and total length of buried conductors
50 20
to determine the actual step and touch voltages:

r Ks Ki IG
100 Max. step voltage Es(actual) = (22.17)
Size of conductor A

and mesh or maximum touch voltage Em (actual)
200 5
For Zn coated steel wire
r Km Ki IG
For 30% copper clad steel = (22.18)
400 2.5 L
For 97% cu (250C)
For 40% copper clad steel r = resistivity of the soil
1000 1.0 For 97% Cu-brazed (450C)2 Ks, Km = geometrical factors, depending upon the more
For 97% Cu and 100% Cu important parameters such as area of the
grounding grid, its depth and conductor spacing
and less important factors, such as diameter of
0.1 0.2 0.3 0.5 1.0 2.0 3.0 5.0 10 20
the conductors and the thickness of the finishing
Duration of fault (sec)
surface by concrete or gravel.
The touch voltage diminishes up to 1 m depth
1. For critical installations, tmax is considered as 250C for annealed of the grid and then rises rapidly. The ideal
copper conductors. At higher temperatures, the annealing may depth for economic considerations may be taken
erode. as 0.5 m when the touch and step voltages are
2. For brazed joints, tmax is considered as 450C. reasonably low.
3. A more prudent temperature rise may be considered to optimize
the use of metal, depending upon the type of jointing, such as
Ki = corrective factor, accounting for the increase
by welding (preferably exothermic), bolting, brazing or crimping in current densities at the far ends of the grid
etc. and their safe operating temperature, over long periods. system, the resistivity of the soil and the average
Soldered joints must be avoided, which may fail under high current density per unit length, IG /L, of buried
fault currents because of excessive heat conductors.
Figure 22.17 Nomogram for conductor sizing at 40C ambient
IG = maximum fault current contributed by the
temperature power generating units.
L = total length of the buried conductors of the
grounding station (Equation (22.13)).

= 3.48 4.2785 Estimating the step voltage Es (actual)

= 4.8 mm In this case
This amount of corrosion will occur on each side of the
electrode, K s = 1 1 + 1 + 1 (1 0.5 n2 )
p 2h D+h D
\ total corrosion during a span of 40 years of operation
and the maximum step voltage is assumed to occur at a
= 2 4.8 distance equal to grid depth h, where h is more than 0.25
= 9.6 mm m and less than 2.5 m. Depths less than 0.25 m may be
This is an average value of metal erosion during the
length of service and may vary with soil conditions. In

coastal areas, for instance, where the subsoil water is Ks = 1 1 + 1 + 1 W
saline, erosion of metal would be much more rapid and p 2h D + h D
a further safety factor must be considered. Field experience
will be a better guide to assess this. where

22.14.3 Maximum touch and step voltages of a W = 1 + 1 + 1 +... 1

2 3 4 n1
grounding station
For n 6
In Section 22.8 we discussed the tolerable step and touch
voltages that a human body can endure. In actual service W 1 + log e ( n 1) 0.423
these voltages of the grounding station should not exceed 2( n 1)
the prescribed tolerable limits. The grounding station
design as carried out above must therefore be counter- The step voltage falls sharply at higher depths.
Grounding practices 22/815

Example 22.7
To determine the minimum size of ground conductor considering a station grid made of Zn coated steel, having the following

Parameters As in IEEE-80 As in IS 3043

I (A) 1 or 0.001 kA 1 or 0.001 kA

(to calculate a generalized factor in mm2/A) (to calculate a generalized factor in mm2/A)
t (s) 1 1
20 0.0032 0.0045
r20(mW/cm) 20.1 13.8
Tcap(J/cm3/C) 3.931 3.8
tmax (C) 419 450
tamb(C) 40 40

K0 1 20 1 20
0.0032 0.0045
= 293 (Table 22.5) = 202

0.001 0.001
\ A=
3.931 10
293 + 419 3.8 10 4
log 202 + 450
0.0032 20.1 log e 293 + 40 e
0.0045 13.8 202 + 40

= 0.001 = 0.001
0.0061 log e 2.14 0.006 log e 2.69

= 0.001 = 0.001
0.0061 0.76 0.006 0.99
= 0.0147 mm2/A = 0.0123 mm2/A

1 = 68 A/mm 2 1
or or = 81 A/mm 2
0.0147 0.0123
Say 80 A/mm2
For an Ig of 30 kA,
size of ground = 0.0147 30 000 = 0.0123 30 000
conductor = 441* mm = 369* mm2

*If a future expansion in the generating capacity of the station is envisaged, the grounding grid conductor size so estimated may
be enhanced by a suitable decrement factor, D f (Section 22.9.6)

L = Lc + L r when there are only a few ground rods conductor spacing would therefore be necessary with more
at the periphery of the grid number of meshes at the centre and fewer towards the
or = Lc + 1.15Lr when there are proportionately periphery. Increasing the number of meshes, i.e. reducing
more ground rods at the far end of the the conductor spacing, would tend to reduce the step and
grid touch voltages until a saturation stage is reached, i.e. when,
where Lr approaches Lc. The factor 1.15 may now be increased
Lc = total length of the grid conductors and to 1.2 based on field experience and
Lr = total length of the ground rods Ki = 0.656 + 0.172 n
The factor 1.15 represents the higher current density where
in the ground rods that are placed at the far ends or periphery n = the number of conductors on each side of a square
of the grid. The ground current discharging through a grid. If the ground grid is not a square and the
uniformly spaced ground grid is scanty at the centre, dense number of conductors lengthwise is na and width-
at the edges and a maximum at the corners. Accordingly, wise nb then
the worst step and touch voltages would occur at the outer
meshes of the grid, especially at the corners. To make the
n= na n b
current density more uniform, a more non-uniform
22/816 Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook

Estimating the maximum touch voltage, Em Power 3 300MVA 3 315MVA

(actual) plant Zp = 16 10% Zp = 14.5 10%
[Table 13.8]
This will largely depend upon the ratio of the current
densities in the far-end conductors, i.e. conductors at the G1 G2 G3
periphery, and the innermost conductors and can be
expressed as follows, based on extensive research:
D2 ( D + 2 h)2
Km = 1 log e 16 hd + h 400 kV trans-
2p 8 Dd 4 d mission bus

K ii
log e 8 ground bus

Kh p (2 n 1) GL
ground bus

K ii = 1
(2n ) 2/n
For grids without or with only a few ground rods near
the inner grid (not at the far ends):

Kh = 1+ h
h0 Grounding
where Station
h0 is the reference depth of grid = 1 m grid
The values of Ki and L can be determined along similar
lines to those for the step voltage.
In the above equations for maximum step and touch voltages Switchyard
the best results will be obtained when the following parameters grounding
are achieved: grid

n 25 Figure 22.18 General layout of a power plant, station grounding

grid, and switchyard grounding grid etc.
0.25 h 2.5 m
d < 0.25 h and
Since there are too many variables and parameters
D > 2.5 m related to a grounding station, the following practical
example will illustrate a step-by-step procedure to design
22.14.4 Estimating the value of ground a grounding station.
conductor length (L)
Having determined the safe touch voltage Et (Equation Example 22.8
To design a grounding grid, consider a power generating
(22.8)) the maximum mesh voltage Em (actual) (Equation station as shown in Figure 22.18, transmitting power at
(22.18)) should be equal to or less than this voltage. 400 kV through its own switchyard to another switchyard
Thus by equating these two we can estimate the likely remotely located.
length L of the ground conductors. Considering this for
an average human body of 70 kg
Size of grounding conductor
Em (actual) Et(70) Consider GI for grounding, and the same parameters of Section
22.14.1, leading to a minimum size of grounding conductor
r K m Ki IG as 80 A/mm2, based on IS 3043. Fault level for a 400 kV
or (1.5 Cs rs + 1000) 0.157 power station as in Table 13.10 is 40 kA (envisaging no further
L t rise in the fault level, IG = Ig)

r Km Ki IG t \ A = 40 10
or L> (22.19)
(1.5 Cs rs + 1000) 0.157 80
= 500 mm2
This is the parameter that will help to decide the size and
type of the grounding grid and design of the mesh. If we consider circular conductors then
Grounding practices 22/817

pd 2 = 500 Ir = 3 300
4 3 400
or d = 25.24 mm = 3 0.433 kA
For a power station, assuming a corrosion factor for a lifespan
of 40 years as 0.12 mm/ year per side then \ Ig1 = 3 0.433 100
(16 + 14.5) 0.9
Corrosion depth = 2 4.8 = 9.6 mm.
(considering the lower side of Z p, to be on the safe side)
\ minimum d = 25.24 + 9.6
= 4.73 kA
= 34.84
say, 35 mm and Ig2 = 40 4.73
= 35.27 kA as illustrated in Figure 22.19
Sharing of ground fault current
Rated current of the power plant Ig1 = fault current sharing by the power plant grounding
G1 G2 G3 Ig2 = fault current sharing by the switchyard grounding
grid (transmission system)
Ig = total fault current, considered to be 40 kA for a 400
GT1 GT2 GT3 kV system as in Table 13.10.
400 kV transmission
bus For ease of understanding, the rest of the working is shown
in the form of Table 22.6.
After the final designs are complete it is recommended
Ig 2 Power plant that the actual touch Em (actual) and step voltage Es (actual)
ground bus are rechecked for both power plant and switchyard areas
separately, to ensure that they are within the tolerable limits
Ig 2 as determined above. After the ground stations have been
Ig 1 Ig = I g 1 + Ig 2
finally installed the actual step and touch voltages must be
Ig 2
measured to verify the designs.
Ig 1 Switchyard
ground bus
The above example illustrates a simple procedure to design
a ground mat in a large power generating station, inter-
Ig 2 connected to external supply sources through a power grid.
The procedure would be the same with a large switchyard,
receiving and transmitting large powers.
For small power houses, which may be captive and small
G Remote
switchyards or substations, receiving and distributing power
to industrial or domestic loads, such an elaborate design is
Figure 22.19 A simplified layout of Figure 22.18, illustrating the not required and simple grounding stations as discussed in
sharing of fault current by the station grounding grid and the switchyard Section 22.1 will be sufficient.
grounding grid on fault
Table 22.6 Designing a grounding grid

(1) (2) (3)

Step no. Parameters Power plant area Switchyard area

1 (i) Soil resistivity, r Wm 70 70

(ii) Surface resistivity for concrete of thickness hs
as 250 mm, rs1 Wm 550
(iii) Surface resistivity for gravel of thickness hs as
150 mm, rs2 Wm 2500
2 Duration of fault s 1.0 1.0
(maximum clearing time of the interrupting device)
3 Average weight of a human body (kg) 70 70
(A) \ Safe touch voltage,
Et = (1.5 Cs rs + 1000) 0.157
70 550 70 2500
Reflection factor k= k=
70 + 550 70 + 2500
= 480 = 0.77 = 2430 = 0.95
620 2570
\ Cs from Figure 22.14 Cs = 0.85 Cs = 0.68
\ Et = (1.5 0.85 550 + 1000) 0.157 = (1.5 0.68 2500 + 1000) 0.157
1 1
22/818 Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook

= (701.25 + 1000) 0.157 = (2550 + 1000) 0.157

= 267 V = 557 V

(B) Step voltage, E s = (6 C s rs + 1000) 0.157 = (6 0.85 550 + 1000) 0.157 = (6 0.68 2500 + 1000) 0.157
t 1 1
= (2805 + 1000) 0.157 = (10 200 + 1000) 0.157
= 597 V = 1758 V
4 Ground resistance (W)
r p
Rg = (Equation (22.12)) L being large
4 A
is ignored for ease of calculation
Assumptions by experience: Area m2 90 000 120 000

R gp 3.14 3.14
Ground resistance W = 70
4 90 000
R gs = 70
4 120 000
= 0.103 = 0.089
Total ground resistance of power plant and
switchyard areas interconnected in R gt = 0.103 0.089
0.103 + 0.089
parallel (recommended practice) where W = 0.0477
1 = 1 + 1 and
Rgt Rgp Rgs
(1) (2) (3)

Rgp = ground resistance of power plant area

Rgs = ground resistance of switchyard area
Rgt = total ground resistance of power plant
and switchyard areas in parallel
5 Fault current sharing by the two ground mats kA I g1 = 40 0.0477 I g2 = 40 0.0477
0.103 0.089
= 18.54 = 21.46

(i) Due to power plant, kA 4.73 0.0477 = 2.19 4.73 0.0477 = 2.54
0.103 0.089
35.27 0.0477 = 16.35 35.27 0.0477 = 18.92
(ii) Due to transmission system, kA 0.103 0.089
6 To estimate L, to achieve safe potential differences: To determine this, it is necessary that certain assumptions, based on field experience, are made for a possible grounding system
r km ki IG t and if necessary, further modifications made to arrive at the desired results and design:
Equation (22.19) L >
Safe touch voltage ( E t )
Assuming the following:
Area of power plant m2 90 000 120 000
Consider a rectangular grounding mat m2 360 250 400 300
Spacing between cross conductors (mesh),
both lengthwise and widthwise D, m 12.5 15
m = 360 + 1 = 30 400 + 1 = 28
\ No. of conductors lengthwise =
12.5 15
and length m = 30 250 = 7500 = 28 300 = 8400
No. of conductors widthwise = 250 + 1 = 21 = 300 + 1 = 21
12.5 15
and length, m = 21 360 = 7560 = 21 400 = 8200
and n = 30 21 = 25 = 28 21 = 24
For h = 1 m Ki = 0.656 + 0.172n = 0.656 + 0.172 24
d = 0.035 m = 0.656 + 0.172 25 = 4.784
= 4.956
= 1
Kii = 1 = 1
(2 24) 2/24
(2 n ) 2/n (2 25) 2/25

= 1 = 0.73 = 1 = 0.52
1.367 1.91
= 1 + 1 = 1.414
Kh 1+ h = 1 + 1 = 1.414
D2 ( D + 2h) 2 K 8
Km + h + ii log e
= 1 log e
2p 16.h.d 8 Dd 4 d k h p (2 1)
12.5 2 1 15 2 1
Grounding practices

(12.5 + 2 1) 2 (15 + 2 1) 2

1 1
log e 16 1 0.035 + 8 12.5 0.035 4 0.035 log e 16 1 0.035 + 8 15 0.035 4 0.035
= =
0.73 log 8 2p
0.52 log
+ + e

1.414 p (2 25 1) 1.414 p (2 24 1)
(1) (2) (3)

= 1 log e (331.95) + 0.73 log e 0.052 = 1 (log e (463.46) + 0.37 log e 0.054)
2p 1.414 2p

= 1 5.8 + 0.73 (2.96) = 1 ( 6.139 + 0.37 (2.92) )
2p 1.414 2p
= 0.68 = 0.80

\ Minimum length of conductor required, L m 70 0.68 4.956 18.54 1000 1 70 0.80 4.784 21.46 1000 1
267 557
r km Ki IG t = 16,392 = 10 321
((1.5C s . rs + 1000) 0.157) (or Et(70))
Length available, Lc m = 7500 + 7560 = 8400 + 8200
= 15 060 = 16 600
The size of ground mat and spacing of cross conductors, The size of the ground mat and spacings of cross conductors
assumed above, seem to be acceptable, except for small may be economized. The size of the ground grid may be
adjustments. The deficit in ground length of conductors may reduced and the spacing between the cross conductors increased.
be made up through vertical ground rods of the same conductors It would require a re-exercise from step 4 onwards. For brevity,
as for the grounding grid. (The resistivity of soil, r, at the this is not being done.
depth of the ground rods may also be considered the same as
at the depth of the ground grid conductors.) For more accurate
analysis refer to IEEE-80. In this case consider 150 such rods
10 m in length
22/820 Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook

\ Lr = 10 150
= 1500 m
and L= 15 060 + 1500
= 16 560 m
Grounding practices 22/821

Relevant Standards


60050-195/2001 Code of practice for earthing and protection against electric 3043/2001 BS 7430/1998, BS IEC
shocks. 60050-195/1998
60364-1 to 7 Electrical installation of buildings-code of practice 732/2000 BS7671/2001
62271-200/2003 A.C. metal enclosed switchgear and controlgear for rated 12729/2000 BS EN 60298/1996
voltages above 1 kV and up to and including 52 kV.
Relevant US Standards ANSI/NEMA and IEEE

ANSI/IEEE-37.101/1993 Guide for generator ground protection.

ANSI/IEEE-80/2000 Guide for safety in a.c. substation grounding.
ANSI/IEEE-81/1983 Guide for measuring earth resistivity, ground impedance and earth surface potentials of a ground system.
Part I : Normal measurements.
ANSI/IEEE-141/1999 Recommended practice for electric power distribution for industrial plants. (IEEE Red Book)
ANSI/IEEE-142/1991 Grounding of industrial and commercial power systems. (IEEE Green Book)
ANSI/IEEE-241/1991 Recommended practice for electric power systems in commercial buildings. (IEEE Grey Book)
ANSI/IEEE-242/2001 Recommended practice for protection and coordination of industrial and commercial power systems. (IEEE
Buff Book)
ANSI/IEEE-367/1996 Recommended practice for determining the electric power station ground potential rise and inductive
voltage from a power fault.
ANSI/IEEE-C2/2002 National Electrical Safety Code (NESC).

1 In the table of relevant Standards while the latest editions of the Standards are provided, it is possible that revised editions have become
available or some of them are even withdrawn. With the advances in technology and/or its application, the upgrading of Standards is a
continuous process by different Standards organizations. It is therefore advisable that for more authentic references, one may consult the
relevant organizations for the latest version of a Standard.
2 Some of the BS or IS Standards mentioned against IEC may not be identical.
3 The year noted against each Standard may also refer to the year it was last reaffirmed and not necessarily the year of publication.

List of formulae used Q = 1 for strip and 1.3 for round conductor grounding

Resistance to ground: Size of the grounding conductor

Plate grounding S= t (22.4)
r p W S = cross-sectional area of a bare ground conductor in
4 2A
(22.1) mm2
I = r.m.s. value of the ground fault current in amperes
r = resistivity of soil in Wm k = a factor that would depend upon the material of the
A = area of each side of the plate in m2 conductor
t = duration of fault in seconds
Pipe or rod grounding
Tolerable step voltage
100 r
2p l {
log e 8 l 1 W
d } (22.2) For a 50 kg body
l = length of pipe in cm Es(50) (6 Cs rs + 1000) 0.116 (22.5)
d = internal diameter of pipe in cm t
For a 70 kg body
Strip or conductor grounding Es(70) (6 Cs rs + 1000) 0.157 (22.6)
100 r
log e 2 l + Q Ohms
R= (22.3)
2p l hw Tolerable touch voltage
l = length of strip or rod in cm
h = depth of strip or rod in cm For a 50 kg body
w = width of strip or twice the diameter of the conductor Et(50) (1.5 Cs rs + 1000) 0.116 (22.7)
rod in cm t
22/822 Electrical Power Engineering Reference & Applications Handbook

For a 70 kg body Measuring average resistivity of soil

E t(70) (1.5 Cs rs + 1000) 0.157 (22.8) r  2pa Rg (22.15)
Design parameters Minimum size of grid conductors
IG = Ig D f (22.9)
IG = maximum ground fault current I g*
Ig = symmetrical ground fault current A= (22.16)
Tcap 10 4 K + t max
Df = decrement factor log e 0
t 20 r 20 K 0 + t amb
Body resistance
A = cross-sectional area of ground conductor
R2fsb = 6 Cs rs + Rb in mm2
I g = ground fault current in kA (r.m.s.)
= 6 Cs rs + 1000 (22.10) = it may be substituted with IG (Equation
R2fsb = total touch resistance through the body (22.9))
Rb = body resistance Tcap = thermal capacity factor in J/cm3/C
and, t = duration of fault in seconds
20 = thermal coefficient of resistivity at a
R2fps = 1.5 Cs rs + Rb reference temperature of 20C
= 1.5 Cs rs + 1000 (22.11) r20 = resistivity of ground conductor at a reference
R2fps = total step resistance through the body temperature of 20C in m W/cm
Cs = reduction factor for derating the nominal value K0(at 0C) = reciprocal of 0
of surface layer resistivity, corresponding to a tmax. = maximum allowable temperature in C
crushed rock layer of thickness, h s and a tamb. = ambient temperature in C
reflection factor k
where Actual maximum touch and step voltages of a
r rs grounding station
k= and
r + rs
r = ground resistivity in Wm r Ks K i IG
rs = crushed rock (gravel) resistivity in Wm Max. step voltage, Es (actual) = (22.17)

Ground resistance and mesh or maximum touch voltage,

(i) For grid depths up to 250 mm r Km Ki IG

E m (actual) = (22.18)
r r L
Rg = p + (22.12)
4 A L For details refer to the text
Rg = station ground resistance in W
r = average resistivity of soil in Wm Estimating the value of ground conductor length
r p to design the grounding grid
= ground resistance at the surface of the ground
4 A
r r K m Ki IG t
= ground resistance of the total buried L> (22.19)
L (1.5 Cs rs + 1000) 0.157
length ( L ) of conductors
Total length of the buried conductors
L = na b + nb a + ng h metres (22.13) Further Reading
na = no. of conductors lengthwise
b = width of the grid in m Central Board of Irrigation and Power, India, Corrosion of earthing
nb = no. of conductors widthwise equipment, Review No. 1, Jan (1973).
a = length of the grid in m and Central Board of Irrigation and Power, India, Earthing system
ng = no. of grounding rods parameters for HV, EHV and UHV substations, Technical Report
h = depth of grounding rods in m No. 49, Sept. (1985).
Central Board of Irrigation and Power, India, Design of earthing
(ii) For grid depths > 250 mm mat for high voltage substation, Publication No. 223, Jan
Rg = r 1 + 1 1+ 1
(22.14) Central Board of Irrigation and Power, India, Workshop on Design
L 20 A 1 + h 20/A and Earthing Systems, April (1994).
Reeves, E.A., Handbook of Electrical Installation Practices.
where A = a b