What is Earthing or Grounding?
Earthing or Grounding your electrical systems is critical to protect your infrastructure, equipment, and people from the danger of high voltage and achieve safety from fatal electrical surges. These objectives can be achieved through a well-designed earthing system that takes into consideration various factors, such as the location and application and where it is to be implemented.
In a well-designed and installed earthing system,
The low-impedance return path for fault energy to its respective source is mandatory.
Low resistance is provided to trip or short-circuit breakers in the event of an electrical fault.
It minimizes fault traversal into an un-prescribed circuit thereby saving the electrical network from severe damage and accidents.
In case of surge voltage (due to lightning strikes, line faults, etc.), earthing or grounding can be understood as the path for transmitting the sudden discharge of electricity, using low-resistance electric cables or wires, to the earth.
Benefits of Accurately Designed and Installed earthing systems
- Helps to achieve safety from touch and step potential
- Eliminates shock hazard
- Trips the Protection system at the right time
- Reduces Equipment Aging and Increases Production efficiency
What are the design criteria for an earthing system?
- Location of construction
- Soil compaction
- Soil sodicity, calcicity, porosity, humidity
- Soil resistivity
- Highest possible fault energy
- The material used for construction
For the installation of the earthing system an important criterion to consider is the type of earth-enhancing compound to be used. The earth-enhancing compounds (EEC) as per best practices are:
- Permanent EEC (as per IEEE 80:2013 14.5 (d) clause) – Curec+®
- Maintenance-Free EEC (IEEE 80:2013 14.5 (b) clause) – Curecon®
- Bentonite-based EEC (IEEE 80:2013 14.5 (b) clause) – Curenite™
- Conventional Earthing (Salt & charcoal) (IEEE 80:2013 14.5 (a) clause)
An accurately designed and installed earthing system is important across various sectors such as oil refineries & petrochemicals, skyscrapers, large-scale industries, smart cities, precision industries like pharma, and public transport systems such as rail or metro and Defence. While building this system we must ensure adherence to safe design criteria and use of products conforming to standards to reduce incidents, fatal accidents, production or performance loss, and increase the reliability of operations which in turn helps to achieve better profits.