GROUNDING GRID DESIGN IN DIFFICULT CONDITIONS BASIC INFORMATION AND TUTORIALS



In areas where the soil resistivity is rather high or the substation space is at a premium, it may not be possible to obtain a low impedance grounding system by spreading the grid electrodes over a large area, as is done in more favorable conditions.

Such a situation is typical of many GIS installations and industrial substations, occupying only a fraction of the land area normally used for conventional equipment. This often makes the control of surface gradients difficult.

Some of the solutions include

a) Connection(s) of remote ground grid(s) and adjacent grounding facilities, a combined system utilizing separate installations in buildings, underground vaults, etc. A predominant use of remote ground electrodes requires careful consideration of transferred potentials, surge arrester locations, and other critical points.

A significant voltage drop may develop between the local and remote grounding facilities, especially for high-frequency surges (lightning).

b) Use of deep-driven ground rods and drilled ground wells.

c) Various additives and soil treatments used in conjunction with ground rods and interconnecting conductors.

d) Use of wire mats. It is feasible to combine both a surface material and fabricated mats made of wire mesh to equalize the gradient field near the surface.

A typical wire mat might consist of copper-clad steel wires of No. 6 AWG, arranged in a 0.6 m × 0.6 m (24 in × 24 in) grid pattern, installed on the earth’s surface and below the surface material, and bonded to the main grounding grid at multiple locations.

e) Where feasible, controlled use of other available means to lower the overall resistance of a ground system, such as connecting static wires and neutrals to the ground. Typical is the use of metallic objects on the site that qualify for and can serve as auxiliary ground electrodes, or as ground ties to other systems. Consequences of such applications, of course, have to be carefully evaluated.

f) Wherever practical, a nearby deposit of low resistivity material of sufficient volume can be used to install an extra (satellite) grid. This satellite grid, when sufficiently connected to the main grid, will lower the overall resistance and, thus, the ground potential rise of the grounding grid.

The nearby low resistivity material may be a clay deposit or it may be a part of some large structure, such as the concrete mass of a hydroelectric dam.

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