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EARTH MAT DESIGN

1.0 BASIC REQUIREMENT:


1.1 Provision of adequate earthing system in a Sub Station is extremely important for the safety
of the operating personnel as well as for proper system operation and performance of the
protective devices. The primary requirements of a good earthing system in a Sub Station
are:
a) The impedance to ground should be as low as possible but it should not exceed 1.0
(ONE) Ohm.
b) The Step Potential, which is the maximum value of the potential difference possible
of being shunted by a human body between two accessible points on the ground
separated by the distance of one pace (which may be assumed to be one metre),
should be within safe limits.
c) Touch Potential, which is the maximum value of potential difference between a point
on the ground and a point on an object likely to carry fault current such that the points
can be touched by a person, should also be within safe limits.
1.2 To meet these requirements, an earthed system comprising of an earthing mat buried at a
suitable depth below ground and supplemented with ground rods at suitable points is
provided in the Sub Stations.
1.3 All the structures & equipments in the Sub Station are connected to the earthing mat so as
to ensure that under fault conditions, none of these parts is at a potential higher than that of
the earthing mat.
1.4 The neutral points of different voltage levels of transformers & reactors are separately
earthed at two different points. Each of these earthed points should be interconnected with
the station earthing mat.
2.0 MEASUREMENT OF EARTH RESISTIVITY:
2.1 Weather Conditions:
The resistivity of earth varies over a wide range depending on its moisture content. It is,
therefore, advisable to conduct earth resistivity tests during the dry season in order to get
conservative results.
2.2 Test Procedure:
Four electrodes are driven in to the earth at equal intervals s along a straight line in the
chosen direction. The depth of the electrodes in the ground shall be of the order of 30 to 50
cm. The earth resistance Megger is placed on a steady and approximately level base, the
link between terminals P1 and C1 is opened and the four electrodes are connected to the
instrument terminals as shown in the figure. An appropriate range on the instrument,
avoiding the two ends of the scale as far as possible, is then selected to obtain clear
readings.

The resistivity is calculated from the equation given below:


=2sR
where
= resistivity of soil in ohm metre,
s = distance between two successive electrodes in metres, and
R = Megger reading in ohms.
2.3 Testing Soil Uniformity.
2.3.1 It is desirable to get information about the horizontal and vertical variations in earth
resistivity over the site under consideration. The horizontal and vertical variation may be
detected by repeating the tests at atleast 6 (Six) different location with a number of different
electrode spacings, increasing from 1 metre to 50 metres in the steps of 1, 5, 10, 15, 25 and
50 metres. A diagram showing the typical layout for earth resistivity measurement in 6
directions is enclosed.
2.3.2 These readings, along with a sketch showing the directions in which earth resistivity
readings have been taken, shall be submitted to the Superintending Engineer (400 KV
Design) for designing the earth mat.
Earth Mat Design 37
2.3.3 An example of the format in which the earth resistivity readings are to be recorded is given
below.
Sl. No. Electrode
Spacing
Megger
Reading in
Ohms
Earth
Resistivity in
Ohm metres
Remarks
Direction 1
1. 1 M
2. 2 M
3. 5 M
4. 10 M
5. 15 M
6. 25 M
7. 50 M
Direction 2
1. 1 M
2. 2 M
3. 5 M
4. 10 M
5. 15 M
6. 25 M
7. 50 M
Similarly for Direction 3 to Direction 6.
EARTHING OF TOWERS

2.2.15.1 Every tower has to be grounded as per the standard procedure. The materials required
are Charcoal and Salt and Pipe type earthing set. The pipe type earthing set consists of 3
mtr. long galvanized steel pipe provided with holes, galvanised steel strip and bolts and
nuts. The grounding of towers shall be done as shown in the figure.
2.2.15.2 COUNTERPOISE EARTHING :- It is necessary to provide counterpoise earthing at
locations where soil resistance is found to be high. The materials required for providing
counterpoise earthing are (a) 60 metres or more of 7/10 SWG G.I. Wire, (b) 4 Nos.
Connecting lugs to tower legs and (c) 4 Nos. H.R.H. Bolts & Nuts. 15 Mtrs. of G.I.
Wire shall be connected to each leg through the connecting lug. The four wires shall be
taken radially to a distance of 15 Mtrs. duly buried in the ground. The purpose of
providing the counterpoise earthing is to bring down the tower footing resistance to
below 15 Ohms. If necessary, the counterpoise earthing may be run to longer radial
distances to achieve the above.

Resistance of the earthing system


R= P +P

4r L

where P = Soil resistivity in ohm meter

L = Length of the conductor buried in meters

R = Radius in meters of a circle having the same area as that occupied by earth mat.

The value of R should be within limits as specified in para 2.4.5 (a)


3.4.6.2 The size of earth mat conductor (steel strip) shall be:
A (Steel) = 26 xIt circular mills

(Or 0.0013 x It sq.mm) for bolted joints

= 21.6 x I t circular mills

(Or 0.011 x It sq.mm) for welded joints

Where A = Cross section

I = Fault current in amps., at the station

= Fault MVA x 103

3 x system kv

and t = Time in seconds during which current is applied

3.4.6.3 In order to take care of corrosion etc. some extra margin may be provided in the size of
earthing strip.

3.4.7.1 The permissible values of step and touch potentials can be calculated as follows :
i) Safe tolerable E step (Volts) = 165 + Ps

where Ps is the resistivity of the ground in ohm meter just beneath the feet of a person (3000
for crushed rock). t is the time in seconds to clear earth (fault by the concerned breaker (0.5 may be
assumed)
ii) Safe tolerable E touch (Volts) = 165 + 0.25 Ps

6 mm

G.S. Flat
50 x 6 mm

G.S. Flat

Link at every 30 m
Link at every 30 m

600
32 mm Dia
M.S.Rod Riser

300

32 mm Dia M.S.Rod

Main Earthmat

3.4.7.2 The maximum attainable step and touch potentials can be calculated as follows. (These
potentials shall be less than the tolerable value, calculated under clause 2.4.7.1)

a) Maximum attainable E step = Ks.Ki.Pl

Where Ks = 7 x ( 1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + n terms)

22 2h D+h 2D 3D

n = Number of parallel conductors in the grid

D = Spacing of conductors in grid in meters

h = Depth of burial in meters

Ki = 0.655 + (0.172 x n)
P = Average resistivity of the ground in ohm meters

l = Maximum total RMS current flowing between the ground grid and

Earth in amps

L = Length of buried conductor in meters

b) Maximum attainable E touch = Km. Ki. P.l

Where Km = 7 x logs D x D + V x log 3 x 5 x 7 x (n-2) terms

44 16 hd 22 4 6 8

(Approximately) Km = 7/44 x loge(dr / 16 hd) + 7/22 Loge 0.25


n = Number of parallel conductors in the grid

d = Equivalent dia of conductor used in metres

D = Spacing of conductors Ingrid in metres

h = Depth of burial in metres

Ki = 0.655 + (0.172 x n)

P = Average resistivity of the ground in ohm metres

l = Maximum RMs current following between the ground grid and

earth in amps

L = Length of buried conductor in metres

3.4.7.3 All exposed steel earthing conductors should be protected with bituminous paint.
PLATE EARTHS
i)EHT Substation - 1.3 M x 13 M.Ms cast iron plates 25mm thick Plates are to be buried vertically
in pits and surrounded by finely divided coke, crushed coal or char coal atleast 155 mm all round the
plates. Plates should not be less than 15 m apart and should be buried to sufficient depth to ensure that
they are always surrounded by moist earth.

3.4.7.5 PIPE EARTH ING


a) EHT substations Cast iron pipes 125 mm in diameter 2.75 m long and

not less than 9.5 mm thick. Pipes 50.8 mm in dia and

3.05m long.

Pipes are to be placed vertically at intervals of not less than 12.2 m in large stations surrounded
by finely broken coke crushed coal and charcoal atleast 150 mm around the pipe on the extra depth.
a) Peripheral or main earth mat 100 x 16 m MS flat

b) Internal earth mat 50 x 8m MS flat to be placed at 5m

apart

c) Branch connections Cross section not less than 64.5 sq.mm

i) Joints are to be kept down to the minimum number

ii) All joints and connections in earth grid are to be brazed, riveted, sweated, bolted or welded.

For rust protection the welds should be treated with barium chromate. Welded surfaces should be
painted with red lead and aluminium paint in turn and afterwards coated with bitumen. Joints in the
earthing conductor between the switchgear units and the cable sheaths, which may require to be
subsequently broken should be bolted and the joint faces tinned. All joints in steel earthing system
should be made by welding except the points for separating the earthing mat for testing purposes which
should be bolted. These points should be accessible and frequently supervised.

3.4.7.6 In all sub-stations there shall be provision for earthing the following :
a) The neutral point of each separate system should have an independent earth, which in turn
should be interconnected with the station grounding mat
b) Equipment frame work and other non-current carrying parts (two connections)

c) All extraneous metallic frame work not associated with equipment (two connections)

d) Lightning arrestors should have independent earths which should in turn be connected to the
station grounding grid.

e) Over head lightning screen shall also be connected to the main ground mat.

3.4.7.7 The earth conductor of the mat could be buried under earth to economical depth of burial
of the mat 0.5 meters.

3.4.7.8 MEASUREMENT OF RESISTANCE :

3.4.7.8.1 The earth resistance can be measured by any of the following methods :

i) Three point method


ii) Four point method

3.4.7.8.2 THREE POINT METHOD : In this method, two temporary electrodes or spikes are
driven, one for current and the other for voltage, at a distance of 150 ft. and 75 ft. respectively
from earth electrode under test and ohmic values of earth electrode resistances are obtained from
the earth megger. The earth resistance is calculated from the following formula :

R = P log 10 (4 L/D) where,

2 L

R = Electrode resistance in ohms

L = Length in centimeters of the Rod driven under ground

D = Diameter in cms. of the rod

P = Earth resistivity in ohm-cm


3.4.7.8.3 FOUR POINT METHOD : In this method, four spikes are driven into the ground at equal
intervals of a cms. The depth of insertion of spikes into the ground must not exceed one twentieth of
a. The two outer spikes are connected to the current terminals of earth megger while the two inner
spikes are connected to potential terminals. The megger handle is rotated till a steady reading R ohms
is recorded. Assuming that the soil is homogeneous the earth resistivity P in ohms/ cubic centimeter
(ohm/cm) is calculated from the following formula :

P = 2aR

Increased spacing of spikes gives high values for P and this effect is believed to be due to
different strata in the earths depth having different resistivities.
LIGHTNING SHIELDING
This protection could be achieved by overhead ground wires of 7/4.064 mm hot dip galvanized
steel wire, mounted at a h eight above the power conductors maintaining minimum earth
clearance. Lightning masts also could be used instead of ground wires.

3.7.2 When overhead ground wires used, all electrical equipment outside the area enclosed by
the ground wires shall fall within the area covered by 30 degrees angle to the vertical on the
outside of the outer most ground wires. All electrical equipment within the area enclosed by the
ground wires shall within the area covered by a 60 degree angle to the vertical on the side of the
ground wires.

If lightning masts or rod used all electrical equipment outside the area enclosed by the lightning
masts or rods shall fall within the protective cone formed by rotating a line at 30 degrees to the
vertical with the lightning mast or rod peak as apex through 360 degrees. All electrical
equipment within the area enclosed by the lightning masts or rods shall fall within the protective
cone formed by rotating a line at 60 degree to the vertical with the lightning mast or rod peak as
apex through 360 degrees.

The ground wire and/or masts/rods shall be connected to the main station earthing system bus
solidly (and not through supporting steel structures) for preventing difference of surge potential
between the shield and other grounded parts of the station.
EARTHING SYSTEM
Earth mat shall be laid in the substation in accordance with the provisions of the relevant IEC
recommendations/IS code of practice IS 3043-1987 and Indian Electricity rules, so that the
values of the step and touch potentials in case of faults are kept within safe permissible limits.

The principal requirements of the earthing are:

a. Low resistance and adequate current carrying capacity.


b. Uniform and near uniform ground potential on all structural metal work on all metal
enclosures and supports of equipment and apparatus.
The resistance of earthing network shall be less than 0.5 ohm for the network of outdoor yard
under all conditions. The scope of installation will also include all the civil works associated
with complete earthing network. All earth connections shall ensure a permanent low resistance
contact. Earth connections required to be removed for the purpose of testing of
equipment/earthing network shall have bolted connections and joints fastened. All earthing
connections shall be visible for inspection. All equipment located at switchyard, shall have 2
separate distinct earth connections. Switchyard fencing shall be earthed at every alternate
section. Lightning arrestors and transformer neutral shall be connected to two independent
earth electrodes.

Earth wire of lightning protector systems shall be connected to earth mat. The grounding
connection to the lightning arrestors shall be as short as possible. Sharp turns of these
conductors shall be avoided. It has to be ensured that main earth bus in the installation as well
as earth buses in individual sections / areas shall form complete ring and they shall be
interconnected. Duplicate earthing (two separate and distinct connections with earth) shall be
employed for all equipments. Wherever burying of earth conductors is specified, they shall be
buried as per approved drawings. Wherever any earth conductor crosses the road, it shall be
taken though GI pipes. At all the terminations of earth conductors on equipments, sufficient
length shall be left for any movement of the equipment from its position for alignment purpose.
Wherever not detailed, the route of the conductor and location of the earth pit shall be arranged
so as to avoid obstruction, crossing etc, according to convenience at site and shall be got
approved by the owners representative in-charge of the works.

Installation of Earth Pits:

i. The arrangement of earth electrode/pit shall be as shown in IS 3043. Termination


arrangement of interconnecting earth strips is included in the scope of earth pit.
Interconnecting earth flats shall be jointed by welding to the termination arrangement on
the electrode. Electrode will be 50 mm dia GI pipe of 3 m length medium class, in a single
piece.
ii. The distance between two pits shall preferably be 4 to 6 meters.

iii. All accessories required for the earth pits such as electrodes, charcoals, salt, clamps, clips,
bolts / nuts washer, GI pipes, funnel cast iron cover and also the masonry works of the
pits including supply of necessary materials, bricks, cement and excavation of earth for
providing earth pits shall be part of the scope.

iv. The electrodes shall be well packed with earth, charcoal and salt mix up to the level of
connections.

Joints/Terminations of Earth Strips

i) All joints of bare galvanized earth strips shall be welded so as to form rigid earth ring.
All such welded joints shall be given necessary coating of cold galvanized paint as per
relevant standards and a coat of suitable bitumen compound to prevent corrosion.
ii) In case the joints are made by using suitable connectors the entire joint shall be fully
sealed by suitable compound so that no metallic part is exposed.
iii) Necessary crimping tools, soldering equipments, drilling machines and other tools and
tackles which are necessary for completing shall be arranged.
Connection of Electrical Equipment to Station-Earthing System:

Sl.No. Apparatus Parts to be earthed Method of Connection

1 Support of bushing Device flange or base 1) Connect the earthing bolt of the
insulators, lightning plate. device to the station earthing
arrester, fuse, etc. system. In the absence of earthing
bolt or in case of connection to
non conducting structures,
connecting device fastening bolt
Earth terminal of to earth.
each pole of 3-phase
surge arrester 2) When device is mounted on a
steel structure, weld the structure,
mounting the device mounting
the device flange: each supporting
structure of apparatus to earthing
mesh via separate conductor.

2 Cabinets of control Frame works of Weld the frame work of each


and relay panel. switchgear and separately mounted board and
cabinets. cabinet minimum at two points to
the earth conductor of earthing
system.
3 High voltage circuit Operating Connect the earthing bolt on the
breaker. mechanism frame. frame and to operating
mechanism of CB to earthing
system.

4 Isolator. Isolator base(frame) Weld the isolator base frame;


operating connect it to bolt on operating
mechanism bed mechanism base plate and station
plate. earth.

5 Surge arrester. Lower earth point. To be directly connected to earth


mat.

6 Potential Potential transformer 1)Connect the transformer


transformer tank, LV neutral, LV earthing bolt to earthing system
winding phase lead
(if stipulated by the 2) Connect LV neutral of phase
designers). lead to case with flexible copper
conductor.

7 Current transformer Secondary winding Connect secondary winding to


and metal case. earthing bolt on transformer case
with a flexible copper conductor.
The case being earthed in the
Same way as support insulators.

8 Power transformer. Transformer tank. Connect the earthing bolt on


transformer tank to station earth
connect the neutral to earthing
system.

9 Steel door and wire Door or guard steel Weld the mount of each door and
guard in chamber or mount. guard to earth system.
cubicles.

In Every Substation, Provision for Earthing of the Following is Necessary:

The neutral point of each separate system should have an independent earth, which
in turn should have be interconnected with station ground-ing mat.
Equipment frame work and other non-current carrying parts.
All extraneous metallic frameworks not associated with equipment (structures, sub-
station gantries, building etc.)
Lightning arrestors should have independent earth. This should in turn be connected
to station ground mat.

Earthing of sub-station fence is also equally important from viewpoint of touch and
step potentials in the area outside the fence.
In reducing the danger of high step and touch voltage on earth surface provided grid is
installed in a shallow depth usually in the range 0.3 to 0.15 mtrs.

Spacing between the conductors varies from 3 mtrs to 12 mtrs.


The distance between two electrodes shall be sum of their length to avoid
overlapping of their effective area and there by reducing its effect.

Generally the path and direction of fault current is through electrode to ground. The surface
area of electrode depends on length and diameter of electrode. More area is obtained by
changing the length than the diameter. Hence, generally variations are done in length of
electrode than diameter.

1. See that each and every pole structure is earthed with 50 x 6 MS flat to the earth mat.

2. For every breaker there will be five earth connections to the earth mat with 50x6 MS flat.
Breaker body, Relay panel, CTs of the breaker and two sides of the breaker structure.

3. Lightning arrester is to be connected one end directly to the earth mat and the other end is
to the nearer earth pit or to the earth mat.

4. Line isolator is to be connected directly to the earth mat.

5. Power transformer body is to be connected two sides to the earth mat.

6. Twin neutral earthing should be done to power transformer. One earth flat of size 75
8mm MS flat is directly connected to the earth pit and the earth pit is again connected to
the earth mat. The second neutral is directly connected to the earth mat with the support
of 75x40x6mm MS channel.

7. All AB switch operating rods are to be provided with coil earths and the AB switch
support is to be earthed to the earth mat.

8. All the exposed earth flat which are dropping down from the breaker, CTs structures
should be applied with Bituminous paint which is non corrosive.

9. 75 8 MS flat is to be laid around the control room from main switchyard earth mat and
the panels of the breakers, mid point of the battery and battery stand structures are to be
earthed to the earth flat and make a section in front of the control room.

10. The distance between any two earth electrodes should be twice the length of the electrode.

11. If l is the length of electrode, then the distance between two electrodes (D) = 2 x l.
12. The cable sheaths are to be earthed with 25x3 GI strips to the earth mat.

13. The neutral of the station transformer is to be connected to the earth mat directly with
25x3 GI strips.

14. All the welding joints should be painted with bituminous paint.

MAIN EARTHMAT

CONTROL ROOM
50x6 MS OF
6 Inches Size

Welding Flux

Welding Flux

75x8 MS 75x8 MS

75x8 MS

Welding Flux

75x8 MS

75x8 MS

Welding Flux

75x8 MS

Chemically Charged Earth Electrode:


Generally earth electrodes are charged with salt and charcoal etc. Chemically charged earth
electrode diameter of filling material is kept as 300 mm. because, maximum voltage develops at
the center of the electrode and it falls drastically within a radius of 150 mm to some value and
then remains constant to some extent. Hence the path up to 150 mm radius from center should
be of very low resistivity material so that voltage does not rise for long period and dies down as
fast possible

Ground Rod
Terminal

Mean Earth
Potential

Es = Earth Surface Potential

d = Radial Distance from Rod


i.e. discharge is very fast and resistance offered by ground is very low. Hence the diameter of
charged earth electrode filling material is generally kept 300 mm. it can be kept more but it will
consume more material and space.

Procedure of Laying Earthing Mat:

1. Earth resistance is to be measured in the sub Station.


2. Earthing layout is prepared indicating the routes of cable trenches and foundations
of equipment.
3. Trenches are dug to a depth of about 0.5 to 1mtr to bury the earth conductors.
4. The base of trenches is leveled and made free from stones. The base is filled with soft
soil free of stones. The soil is rammed and leveled.
5. Earthing rods/flats are laid.
6. Grounding spikes are driven in the earth. Separate earth pits are to be provided near
surge arrestors, transformers neutrals and coupling capacitors.
7. Risers are to be provided from the earth flat/rod to the equipment and its
supporting structure.
8. The joints are welded after proper clamping.
9. Bitumen paint is applied to welded joints.
10. The trenches are filled with the earth to ground level.
11. Crushed stone is to be spread on the leveled earth in the sub-station.
12. Resistance of earthing system is measured.
13. If the earth resistance is more than the required value (i.e.0.5 to 1 ohm-m), then
additional electrodes or conductors are to be provided to get the required resistance.
Illustration of Different Earth Potentials during Fault Condition:
Square Grid with Electrodes Placing at the Periphery

Earth Mat with Electrodes Placed in the Grid


L-Shaped Grid with Electrodes

Grid with Encased Vertical Electrodes

Arc zone around an electrode when a large current flows away from it to ground
Earthing of Power Transformer:

GROUND LEVEL

50 x 8 mm GS Flat LV

Neutral Earthing

Earthing of C.T.

50 x 8 mm GS Flat
OLTC operating 50 x 8 mm GS Flat
Mechanism Box
50 x 8 mm GS Flat Earthing
Cable Box Earthing
Body Earthing
32 m dia
32 mm dia GS
GS Rod
Rod riser
32 mm dia MS Rod 32 mm dia MS Rod

Main Earthmat Main Earthmat


Equipment Earthing

Junction Box 50 x 6 mm G.S. Flat


Earthing
Y PH. only
Structure Earthing
Earthing of Circuit Breaker:

Earthing of Cable Trench:

50 x 6 mm

Marshalling Box G.S. Flat

Link at every 30 m

Body Earthing
50 x 6 mm
50 x 6 mm
G
G.S. Flat G.S. Flat

32 mm dia M S Rod

riser
Aux. Earth Mat
32 mm dia M S Rod

Main EarthMat

32 mm dia M S Rod

Main EarthMat
Earthing of Isolator:

Body Earthing

50 x 6 mm

G.S. Flat
Main Switch

Structure Mechanical Box Structure

Earthing Earthing
600

Auxiliary 32 mm dia M S Rod


32 mm dia M S Rod
Earthing
Main EarthMat

Earthing of Lightning Arrester:

LA Earthing
4 kV Insulated

Cable
Surge Counter

50 x 6 mm G I Flat

Structure Earthing

32 mm dia
600

To Pipe
M S Rod
Electrode
Riser
32 mm dia M S Rod

Main Earthmat
Pipe Earthing:

600
32 mm dia M S Rod 32 mm dia M S Rod
100

From Equipment To Earthmat

12 mm dia Hole

400 mm dia 300o Long


2300

G.I. Pipe

(48.3 mm SD 42.3 LD)

Alternate layers of
Charcoal/coke & Salt

3000

3000
Earthing of Substation Tower:

Earth Mat

PC Clamp or Tension Clamp

Cleat

7/3.15 mm GS Earth wire

Pad Type Clamp


50 x 6 mm G I Flat
Structure Earthing

To PVC Electrode To PVC Electrode

32 mm dia M S Rod

Main Earthmat
Earthing of Cable Trench:

50 x 6 mm

G.S. Flat
50 x 6 mm

G.S. Flat

Link at every 30 m
Link at every 30 m

600
32 mm Dia
M.S.Rod Riser

300
32 mm Dia M.S.Rod

Main Earthmat

Air - Terminations for a Flat Roof:

On the roof of the buildings of height below 20 m the horizontal conductors (Air termination
rod) shall be laid as shown in the drawings below.

Down conductors of size 20 x 3 mm at 20 m spacing shall be run along the perimeter of the
building, terminating in a rod type earth electrode. The down conductors can be bonded to the
metal rain water pipes wherever possible.
BS 6651 Code of practice for protection of structures against lightning may be referred for
the design of the Air terminations.
(a) Elevation showing protective angle

10 m (max)

(b) Plan showings zone of protection at ground level


10 m (max)

(c) General arrangement