You are on page 1of 9

3goodwaystoimproveearthelectroderesistance

electricalengineeringportal.com/improveearthelectroderesistance

Google+ 25/11/2016

3goodwaystoimproveearthelectroderesistance(photocredit:cubissystems.com)

Earthelectroderesistance
Whenyoufindthatyourearthelectroderesistanceisnotlowenough,thereareseveralwaysyoucanimproveit:
1.Lengthentheearthelectrodeintheearth
2.Usemultiplerods
3.Treatthesoil

1.EffectofRodSize

Asyoumightsuspect,drivingalongerroddeeperintotheearth,materiallydecreasesitsresistance.Ingeneral,doublingtherodlengthreduces
resistancebyabout40percent.ThecurveofFigure1showsthiseffect.Forexample,notethataroddriven2ftdownhasaresistanceof88.

Thesameroddriven4ftdownhasaresistanceofabout50.Usingthe40percentreductionrule,880.4=35reduction.

Bythiscalculation,a4ftdeeprodwouldhavearesistanceof8835or53comparingcloselywiththecurvevalues.
Figure1Earthresistancedecreaseswithdepthofelectrodeinearth

Youmightalsothinkthatincreasingtheelectrodediameterwouldlowertheresistance.Itdoes,butonlyalittle.Forthesamedepth,doublingtherods
diameterreducestheresistanceonlyabout10percent.Figure2showsthisrelationship.

Forexample,a10ftdeeprod,5/8in.indiameter,hasaresistanceof6.33.Increasingitsdiameterto11/4in.lowerstheresistanceoto5.6.

Forthisreason,younormallyonlyconsiderincreasingtheroddiameterifyouhavetodriveitintohardterrain.
Figure2DiameterofarodhaslittleeffectonitsearthresistanceCurveA,fromRef.19CurveB,averageofUnderwriters
LaboratoriestestsatChicagoCurveC,averageofUnderwritersLaboratoriestestsatPittsburgh

Gobacktowaystoimproveearthelectroderesistance

2.UseofMultipleRods

Twowellspacedrodsdrivenintotheearthprovideparallelpaths.Theyare,ineffect,tworesistancesinparallel.Therulefortworesistancesinparallel
doesnotapplyexactly.Thatis,theresultantresistanceisnotonehalftheindividualrodresistances(assumingtheyareofthesamesizeanddepth).

Actually,thereductionfortwoequalresistancerodsisabout40percent.Ifthreerodsareused,thereductionis60percent,iffour,66
percent(seeFigure3).
Figure3Averageresultsobtainedfrommultiplerodearthelectrodes
Figure4Comparativeresistanceofmultiplerodearthelectrodes.Singlerodequals100%

Whenyouusemultiplerods,theymustbespacedapartfurtherthanthelengthoftheirimmersion.Therearetheoreticalreasonsforthis,butyou
needonlyrefertocurvessuchasFigure4above.

Forexample,ifyouhavetworodsinparalleland10ftspacing,resistanceisloweredabout40percent.Ifthespacingisincreasedto20percent,
reductionisabout50percent.

Gobacktowaystoimproveearthelectroderesistance

3.TreatmentoftheSoil
Chemicaltreatmentofsoilisagoodwaytoimproveearthelectroderesistancewhenyoucannotdrivedeepergroundrodsbecauseofhardunderlying
rock,forexample.Itisbeyondthescopeofthismanualtorecommendthebesttreatmentchemicalsforallsituations.Youhavetoconsiderthepossible
corrosiveeffectontheelectrodeaswellasEPAandlocalenvironmentalregulations.

Magnesiumsulfate,coppersulfate,andordinaryrocksaltaresuitablenoncorrosivematerials.Magnesiumsulfateistheleastcorrosive,butrocksaltis
cheaperanddoesthejobifappliedinatrenchdugaroundtheelectrode(seeFigure5).

Figure5Trenchmethodofsoiltreatment
Itshouldbenotedthatsolublesulfatesattackconcrete,andshouldbekeptawayfrombuildingfoundations.Anotherpopularapproachistobackfill
aroundtheelectrodewithaspecializedconductiveconcrete.Anumberoftheseproducts,likebentonite,areavailableonthemarket.

NOTE!Chemicaltreatmentisnotapermanentwaytoimproveyourearthelectroderesistance.

Thechemicalsaregraduallywashedawaybyrainfallandnaturaldrainagethroughthesoil.Dependingupontheporosityofthesoilandtheamountof
rainfall,theperiodforreplacementvaries.Itmaybeseveralyearsbeforeanothertreatmentisrequired.

Earthelectrode

Chemicaltreatmentalsohastheadvantageofreducingtheseasonablevariationonresistancethatresultsfromperiodicalwettinganddryingoutofthe
soil.(SeecurvesofFigure6below)

However,youshouldonlyconsiderthismethodwhendeepormultipleelectrodesarenotpractical.
Figure6Chemicaltreatmentofsoillessensseasonalvariationofelectrodesearthresistance

Gobacktowaystoimproveearthelectroderesistance

Groundrodresistance(VIDEO)

Gobacktowaystoimproveearthelectroderesistance

Reference//ApracticalguidetoearthresistancetestingbyMegger

Related Interests