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ANALYSIS OF COMPLEX GROUNDING SYSTEMS CONSISTING OF FOUNDATION GROUNDING SYSTEMS WITH EXTERNAL GRIDS

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FOUNDATION GROUNDING SYSTEMS WITH EXTERNAL GRIDS

M.B.Kostic, M e m b e r

university of Belgrade

Belgrade, Yugosiavia

technique developed to calculate the grounding resistance of a

complex grounding system consisting of a foundation grounding

system with an external grid, buried in two-layer soil, are

presented and discussed. It is shown that connecting a foundation

grounding system to the already existing external grid provides

only a small reduction of the overall grounding system resistance

compared to the resistance of the external grid alone. A number

of tables related to the most frequent cases of soil-concrete

structures are given for practical assessment of the grounding

resistance of such complex grounding systems.

1 INTRODUCTION

Foundation grounding systems (FGSs) are grounding

system comprising round steel rods (of diameter 10-16)

forming two- or three-dimensional grids, embedded in concrete

foundations of different structures. Some significant advantages of

FGSs compared to conventional grounding systems buried in

soil [1,2] have led to the increasing and wide spread use of FGSs

in the past decades (buildings, factories, substations, transformer

stations, overhead power line poles, etc.).

In some cases (buildings, factories) FGS is the only part of

the grounding system. This case was analysed in detail, first in

[ 2 ] , assuming a homogeneous surrounding soil, and later in [3]

and [4], assuming two-layer soil (as a good model of many real

soil structures [5,6]).

There is also a variety of complex grounding systems

containing a combination of FGSs and another grounding systems.

The frequent practical case is a complex grounding system

consisting of an FGS electrically connected to an outer loop

conductor (sometimes with rods). External loops (and rods) are

laid not only to insure a sufficiently low grounding resistance, but

also to satisfy demands from technical standards of many countries

(see [7] and [SI, for example), related to the protection of

structures against lightning. Such a type of complex grounding

systems was analysed in [9], assuming a homogeneous surrounding

soil. A conclusion was reached that adding a loop with rods to an

already existing FGS cannot decrease the grounding resistance of

the FGS itself by more than 30%. It is obvious that a similar

conclusion could be achieved assuming a two-layer soil instead of

a homogeneous one.

The most frequent complex grounding systems that contain

PE-174-PWRD-0-10-1997 A paper recommended and approved by the IEEE

Substations Committee of the IEEE Power Engineering Society for publication in the

IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery Manuscript submitted July 12. 1995; made

available for printing October 19. 1997

grids. To the best of our knowledge, so far there was not a

research dealing with evaluation of electrical properties of

grounding systems of this type.

In [IO] some very useful formulas and graphs which.can be

easily used to determine the grounding resistance of various types

of reinforced concrete foundations appearing in substation yards,

are presented. Each of such foundations was individually treated.

According to their grounding resistances and the fact that a

substation yard may have hundreds of foundations and fence posts,

a conclusion was reached that the resulting grounding resistance

of the foundations in the substation yard might be comparable with

the grounding resistance of the laid grounding conductor.

However, a uniform soil was assumed and the influence of a

foundation on the laid grounding conductor was not analysed.

The frequent practical case deserving to be considered is an

FGS in metallic connection with a surrounding grid. This paper

presents the results of an analysis aimed to evaluate the influence

of an FGS on the reduction of the grounding resistance of a

surrounding grid. The analysis was related to a complex grounding

system shown in Fig. 1 and surrounded by the two-layer soil.

The horizontal grid (of outer dimensions LlxL2) is located

at depth h i n a rectangular concrete block of dimensions uxbxH

and resistivity p c . The upper block surface is flush with the surface

of the ground. The block is surrounded by a grid of outer

dimensions a,xb,, placed at depth h, in the two-layer soil.

Since Fig. 1 is a complicated one, in order to make it

simpler to understand, a vertical cross - section A - A of the

complex grounding system from Fig. 1 is given in Fig. 2.

The boundary surface between the upper and the bottom

soil layers (of resistivities pI and p2, respectively), placed at depth

Hi,p,is represented by the dashed line in Fig. 2.

The complex grounding system shown in Fig. 1 was

analysed using the theoretical method presented in [ 2 ] , that is an

extended version of the program described in [3].

The total charge distribution in the system should be

determined first. In [2] and [3] a numerical procedure that enables

solution of a system of integral equations, expressing the boundary

conditions on all surfaces with surface electrical charges, is given

in detail. After determining the total charge distribution in the

system, the total current flowing from all the elements of the

grounding system can be obtained as

I=

I/dl=-2 n r

0 p c

overthe whole

embeddedinconcrete ( L )

groundingsystem

+-

2 nr8

0 pa

overthewhole

externnlgrid(L)

7 7 4 +

overthewholegrid

VTdl

(1)

753

surrounded by an external grid

grounding system sketched in Fig. 1

- A

of the complex

where

qr - total (free and bound) surface charge density

r - radius of the rods forming the FGS

rg - equivalent radius of the external ,1.rid conductors

Note that for rectangular cross-section conductors (strips) [111

(2)

Finally, the grounding resistance of the complex grounding

system in Fig. 1 can be calculated as

3 CASES ANALYSED

Two rectangular concrete blocks, the first one of

dimensions a=b=30m and H = 3 m , and the second one of

dimensions a=lOm, b=30m and H = 3 m , with grounding grids of

outer dimensions L2xLI =29mx29m (of the total length

Lf= 1740m) and L2xLI =9mx29m (Lf=S60m), respectively, were

extensively analysed. Both grids, each of them of mesh dimensions

lmxlm, were made of conductors of radius r=0.008m.

Five cases were considered.

The first one was related to the first concrete block,

surrounded by an external grid of outer dimensions

ugxb,=74mx82m, of the total length Lg=1844m and with the

biggest mesh of dimensions 5mx8m. The depth H , was equal tc

4m.

The second case was practically the same as the previous

one, the only difference being HUp=10m.

The third case referred to the same concrete block, but

with a larger external grid (u,xb,= 106mx114m, Lg=3620m, the

biggest mesh of dimensions 6mx8m). The depth H , amounted to

4m.

Note that in each of these three cases the whole concrete

block was laid in the upper soil layer.

The fourth and fifth cases concerned the second concrete

block, surrounded by the grid of outer dimensions

agxb,=54mx82m, of Lg=1684m and with the biggest mesh of

dimensions Smx8m. The depth H, in the former case was 0.3m

and in the latter 2.5m (in both cases H,<H was valid).

In all the cases considered the strip cross-section

dimensions were 30mmx4mm (rg=0.009m).

The following range of parameters, describing the most

frequent cases of the two-layer soil and concrete, was considered:

- ratio p c / p j from 0.3 to 8,

- ratio p 2 / p j from 0.25 to 6,

- depth h from 1.2m to 2.8m, and

- depth h, from 0.Sm to 0.8m.

4 RESULTS

(V is the potential of the grounding system).

In order to evaluate the contribution of the FGS to the

decrease of the grounding resistance of the external grid, the

grounding resistance (R,) of the external grid buried in the

two-layer soil around the concrete foundation block (with no grid

inside) was also calculated.

shown in Fig. 1 and taking into account all the parameters

described in Section 3 , the influence of an FGS on the decrease of

the resulting grounding resistance has been evaluated.

Let

A R = 100(R, - R J R ,

(4)

Re,. Tables 1-111 are related to the cases 1-3, respectively, and

contain values of R, (top value), R, (medium value) and AR

(bottom value) for h,=O.Sm, h=2.8m and for different values of

the ratios p21pI and pclpI.

Table 111 Grounding resistances R, and Re, (in ohms) and the

percentage difference AR for the third case considered (H,=4m)

pc/p,

0 30

0 60

PZIP,

1 10

j.00

percentage difference AR for the first case considered (l&,=4m)

6.00

77

percentage difference AR for the second case considered

(J%dp = 10m)

1.736

1.726

1.745

72

6.7

1.757

56

6.1

length L,. Being longer in the third case, the influence of the FGS

was smaller in that case (see Table 111).

For some cases from Table I the influence of the external

grid burial depth (h,), as well as the influence of the FGS burial

depth (h), were considered, with results presented in Table IV.

The same analysis was also carried out for some cases from

Table 11, with results given in Table V.

It can be seen from these tables that in most cases the

influence of the depths h, and h on the grounding resistance R,,

amounts to a few percent only and, consequently, can be

neglected.

Table IV Grounding resistances R, and Re, for a number of cases

from Table I described by different values of parameters h, and h

hs=0.8m

0.251

0.186

0.257

0 ?OX

0.258

0.190

0.262

0.211

h=2.Sm

P?JP, =

0.25

h,?=OSm

h=2.Sm

hx=0.8m

ir=1.2m

0 251

h,=O.Zm

II

0.205

0 257

0.213

1.328

1 175

1.332

1.197

1.335

1.179

1.338

1.202

1.328

1.182

1.332

1.201

h=2.8m

PZIP, =

10.3

8.9

7.8

2.50

hx=0.5m

h=2.8m

h,=O 8m

5% and 26% only (20% for the most frequent cases p c / p I > l),

although the total lengths Lf and L, are almost the same. It is

obvious that AR becomes smaller with bigger values of p , / p I .

However, the influence of p,/pI is reduced for bigger values of

P2IPI.

ii = 1.2m

respectively. It can again be seen that there is the similar range of

the AR values as in the preceding cases.

755

from Table I1 described by different values of parameters

h, and h

p,/p, =

0.25

hx=O.jm

0.338

0.261

0.332

0.265

h=2.8m

hg=O.Sm

h=1.2m

h,=O.Sm

1.101

0.967

2.50

h,=O.Sm

1.108

0.972

1.101

0 974

0.279

0.337

0.284

1.108

h=2.8m

p21pI=

0.342

h=2.Xm

h =O.Xm

Table VI1 Grounding resistances R, and Re, (in ohms) and the

percentage difference AR for the fifth case considered

(Hu,,=2.5 ill, h, =0.8113 and h =2.8m)

1

0.25

0.80

1.20

0.999

I 108

1.002

!I

0219

0220

16.2

16.2

15.8

15.7

0.616

0.618

0.619

0.620

0.620

0.551

0.555

0.557

0.559

0.560

0.872

0 873

0.784

0 787

10.1

0.9

9.7

1.513

1.516

1.516

1517

1.425

1.437

1443

1.415

5.7

5.0

1.8

4.7

3 091

3.093

3.095

3.096

0.776

i.jii

6.00

0 259

16.7

10.7

2.50

0.217

0.869

0.995

1.112

0.161

0.218

0.257

0.214

1

1

1

0.781

10.3

2.583

2.864

7.3

0.871

65

2.902

0.360

6.0

1

1

0 260

2.915

57

0.789

'

1.147

4.6

3.096

2.930

5.4

h=1.2m

grids, the effects of the FGS conductor radius, as well as the strip

equivalent radius on the Re, value, are negligible.

Table VI Grounding resistances Rg and Re, (in ohms) and the

percentage difference AR for the fourth case considered

(H, =O. 3m, h, =O. 8m and h =2.8m)

p,IpI

0.30

0.60

1.10

1 ?Io6ji/j

0.80

1.20

77

7.7

0.873

0.878

0.875

0.782

0.785

0.787

10.4

10.3

10 1

!.778

1777

2.50

1.632

8.2

4 149

71

1.636

1.780

8.0

1.638

8.0

4,152

4.153

7.7

7.7

1

1

77

7.5

0.788

0.789

1.781

: 1

1 I

I781

: ; 1

4 153

4.154

5 CONCLUSIONS

The computer program for analysis of foundation

grounding systems in t h e two-layer soil, based on the theoretical

method presented in [2], was modified and applied for calculation

of the grounding resistance of the complex grounding system

sketched in Fig. 1, consisting of an FGS with external grid.

Effect of the various parameters which influence the

grounding resistance of the grounding system from Fig. 1 was

analysed in detail. The results showed that in the most practical

cases connecting an FGS to the already existing external grid

cannot lower the resulting grounding resistance for more than 15%

when compared to the resistance of the external grid alone.

However, there are a few more reasons in favour of such a

connection, briefly described in the paper.

Several tables valid for a number of the complex grounding

systems from Fig. 1 and for the most frequent cases of

soil-concrete structures are provided and may be used in a design

process for a quick evaluation of the grounding resistance Re,.

6 REFERENCES

Although for a large number of practiical cases AR amounts

up to 1 5 % , it is recommended the existing FGS to be connected

to external grid, at least for economical reasons. For instance, in

the case of the complex grounding system denoted by a star in

Table I the grounding resistance Re, amounted to 1.197Q. The

grounding system consisting of the externail grid only, but now

with outer dimensions 82mx96m, would have practically the same

grounding resistance (1.188Q). It should be emphasized that

additional strips of the total length 664m are needed to achieve the

same grounding resistance as in the case with the FGS included.

There are also some other contributions of the FGSs (e.g., space

savings and equalizing the ground surface potential over the whole

area covered by the outer strips of the external grid).

Although not presented in this paper, the results of the

research have indicated that, in real cases of the FGSs and external

62/17, pp. 847-853, 1971 (in French).

Analysis of a Class of Foundation Grounding Systems", IEE

Proceedings, Pt. C, vol. 137, pp. 123-128, March 1990.

Class of Foundation Grounding Systems Surrounded by Two-Layer

Soil", IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, vol. PWRD-8, pp.

1080-1087, July 1993.

[4] M.B.Kostic, "Parametric Analysis of Foundation Grounding

Systems Surrounded by Two-Layer Soil", IEEE Transactions on

Power Delivery, vol. PWRD-9, pp. 1406-1411, July 1994.

756

in Two-Layer Earth", IEEE Transactions on Power Apparatus and

Systems, vol. PAS-98, pp. 45-59, Jan./Feb. 1979.

Concrete Foundations in Substation Yards", IEEE Transactions on

Power Delivery, vol. PWRD-5, pp. 130-136, Jan. 1990.

to the Equivalent Two-Layer in Complex Grounding Systems

Calculation", Electrical Engineering, No 8, pp. 19-23, 1970 (in

Russian).

Book Company, Inc., 1961.

[9] M.B.Kostic, "Analysis of Foundation Grounding Systems with

External Loops and Rods", IEE Proceedings, Pt. C, vol. 140, pp.

73-76, March 1993.

Vranje, Yugoslavia, on November 16, 1956.

He received the B.S., M.S., and Ph.D.

degrees from University of Belgrade,

Yugoslavia, in 1980, 1982, and 1988,

respectively, all in electrical engineering. In

1980 he joined the Faculty of Electrical

Engineering, Belgrade, where he is employed

as Associate Professor. His present research

interests include problems in foundation grounding systems, use of

bentonite and interior lighting design.

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