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IEEE Transactions on Power Apparatus and Systems, Vol. PAS-102, No. 2, February 1983

389

TRANSIENT ANALYSIS OF GROUNDING SYSTEMS

A. P. Meliopoulos

IEEE, Member

School of Electrical Engineering Georgia Institute of Technology

Atlanta, Georgia 30332

M. G. Moharam

IEEE, Member

Abstract

This paper addresses the problem of computing the

ground potential rise of grounding

systems during

transients. Finite element analysis is employed to model the constituent parts of a grounding system. Short lengths of earth embedded electrodes are charac-

terized as transmission lines with distributed induc-

tance,

capacitance and leakage resistance to earth.

Leakage resistance to earth is accurately computed with the method of moments. The other parameters of the

finite element, namely inductance and capacitance, are

computed from the resistance utilizing Maxwell's equa-

This modeling enables the computation of the

transient response of substation grounding systems to

fast or slow waves striking the substation. The result

is obtained in terms of a convolution of the step re-

In this way

sponse of the system and the striking wave.

the impedance of substation systems to 60 cycles is

accurately computed. Results demonstrate the depen-

dence of the 60 cycle impedance on system parameters.

The methodology allows to interface this model of a

substation ground mat with the Electromagnetic Trans-

ient Analysis Program thus, allowing explicit represen- tation of earth effects in electromagmatic transients

computations.

tions.

1. INTRODUCTION

The transient response characteristics of ground- ing systems play an important role in the protection of electrical installations. For example, the voltage

drop along a ground rod connecting a surge arrester and

the transformer it is protecting can obtain a value

which is a substantial percentage of the basic impulse

level of the transformer insulation. Depending on the

configuration, the surge arrester experiences an over- voltage which is less than the one reaching the trans-

former. Thus system protection is reduced. The intro-

duction of solid state arresters and the every shrink- ing safety margins demand more accurate analysis proce-

dures for substation design and protection.

In this

context, analysis procedures predicting the transient

response of substation grounding systems are very im- portant.

The transient response of grounding structures has been studied many years ago by Rudenberg , Bewley

, Sunde  and others. The classical experiments

performed by Bewley [21 on counterpoises provide much information about the transient characteristic of

82 SM 369-7

A paper

recommended and approved by the

Engineer-

at the IEEE PES 1982

IEEE Substations Committee of the IEEE Power

ing Society for presentation

Summer Meeting, San

Francisco, California, July 18-23,

1982. Manuscript submitted February 4, 1982; made avail-

able for prinfting April 19, 1982.

grounding systems. Verma and Mukhedkar [51 showed that

distributed resistance and inductance models of buried

ground wires predict transient response of such systems

in agreement with the experiments of Bewley. However, they do not provide any models for practical substation

grounding systems. Kostaluk, Loboda and Mukhedkar 

provide experimental data for transient ground impe-

dances. Similarly, Rogers  reports on actual system transient response of a large tower footing. Bellashi

et al. , [91, , have given a complete treatment

of driven rods characteristics. Gupta and Thapar 

formulae for the impulse impedance of

substation ground grids, defined as the ratio of the

provide empirical

peak value of the voltage developed at the feeding

point to the peak value of the

current. This defini-

tion of impulse impedance leads to uncertainty because

the peak values of voltage and current do not necessar-

ily occur at the same time.

The so defined impulse

impedance strongly depends on the rise time of the wave considered, the mesh size of the grid, soil resistivity

and permittivity, the feeding point, etc. This paper

presents data which further illustrate the point. Thus, the definition of impulse impedance of reference

[71 is at best ambiguous.

The work reported in this paper addresses the

problem of transient analysis of practical grounding

systems consisting of ground mats, ground rods, etc.

The developed models are in good agreement with experi-

mental results.

First, the

simple case of an earth embedded conductor is treated.

This case is extended to the case of a substation

ground mat. These two cases clearly illustrate the

methodology. Sample test cases are presented and com-

The comparison is

pared to known experimental data.

The paper is organized as follows.

favorable. Finally, a methodology is outlined for the

interface of the grounding system models of this paper with the EMTP computer program which enables the study

of the impact of grounding systems on electromagnetic

transients.

2. TRANSIENT RESPONSE OF AN EARTH EMBEDDED CONDUCTOR

2.1 Problem Formulation

Development of models of grounding structures

suitable for the computation of their transient re-

sponse can be demonstrated with the simple system of a single buried conductor. Such a system is illustrated

in Figure 1.

of the

conductor

of Figure 1, is characterized with a series

resistance Ar, a series inductance AL, conductance Ag to remote earth and capacitance AC. This representa-

tion is illustrated in Figure 2. These parameters are

distributed along the length Q of the segment.

thick solid line signifies the tact.

The

A small segment of length Q

The numerical values of the quantities

Ag, AL, AC

can be directly computed from two

the conductance Ag and the speed of electromagnetic

quantities, namely

waves in the soil V , as follows.

The speed V

is

0018-9510/83/0002-0389\$01.00 ( 1983 IEEE

390

AIR

/ /t/ ts/

/

/

eQs

I

/

I

J

J -1

/

(x,y,z)

/

hIs.Tej

EARTH

) (conductivity

-.

--~~~~~~~~

dl

dS ~

dS

Figure 1. Single Conductor Buried in Uniform Soil.

A Short Segment of Length R. is Indicated.

a)

-1

AC = a Ag

(3)

AL =

a

0 0

S

(4)

E0= E/cEr permittivity for free space. It is obvious that knowledge of Ag and soil

pro-

perties suffice to determine the parameters of the fi- nite element. Computation of Ag is outlined in Section

2.2.

Applying Kirchoff's laws to a small section Ax, one obtains the usual equation of a distributed param- eter line:

321 tr

0

321 + (Ar-AC + AL-Ag)31i + Ar.Ag I

(5)

There are two approaches of solving this equation:

 (a) By direct solution (i.e. FFT) which leads to Ar AL computationally infeasible procedure for this problem; and (b) Using approximate analysis techniques.

Figure 2. Representation of a Finite Element with Circuit Elements.

readily computed from the soil properties with the aid

of Equation (1). I~~~~

where

V

s

=

C

, r

°

r

(1)

C0

r

The computation of the conductances Ag has been

is the speed of light in free space, and is the relative permittivity of the soil.

reported in an earlier publication  and it is sum-

marized in Section 2.2 of this paper.

Maxwell's equations dictate that

where :

C

:

AC

C

Aga

soil permittivity

soil conductivity

(2)

Also, considering the segment Q as a transmission line

with distributed inductance ASL and capacitance AC

yields:

Q

s

/ AL *AC

where

=

x

C

0

r

Q length of the finite element under consid er-

ation

Above relationships yield the inductance and capaci-

tance of the finite element:

The latter approach will be described. Consider again a finite element of the conductor. Since the element

is very short the circuit of Figure 2 can be approxi- mated with the circuit of Figure 3. The middle part can

be recognized as a lossless transmission line.

equivalent circuit of Figure 3 is the basis for the

development of the methodology.

The

To

this purpose

Dommel's method , can be directly employed to yield

the resistive equivalent circuit of Figure 4. The past history current sources of Figure 4 are defined as fol- lows:

O

0o

I e (t-T) + 2g e (t-T) +2Z ik(tT) (6b)

+ ) i k(t-T)

Lossless Transmission Line

Ar/2

g

AL

I

Ar/2

TAg/2

Figure 3. Approximate Equivalent Circuit of a Short Length of an Earth Embedded Conductor.

(i)

'k"t;

+ ikm(t)

Bk(t)

Ag/2 >

Z0<'

Ik(tT)

i

,zo

'X m(t) /

i

imk(t)

Ag/2 em(t)

Figure 4. Resistive Equivalent Circuit of a Short Length of an Earth Embedded Conductor.

Derivation of above formulae is given in the appendix.

The equivalent circuit of Figure 4, which will be

referred to as the equivalent resistive network, is the

basis of the method. Consider an earth embedded con- ductor of length Q. Assume a partition of this conduc- tor into n segments. n is selected according to the desired degree of accuracy in the computations. Each one of the segments can be represented with the equiva- lent circuit of Figure 4, and associated equations. The resulting equivalent circuit is resistive. Thus,

nodal analysis is most suitably applied to yield:

Y e(t) = i(t) + b(t-h)

(7)

where

y is the admittance matrix of the circuit

e(t)

i(t)

b(t-h)

is the vector of voltages at the nodes of

the circuit (terminals of the segments)

is the vector of currents injected at the

nodes of the circuit is the vector of past history.

In this particular application, the admittance matrix

has

a special structure.

All entries are zero except

the diagonal and those which are located one position

over or under the diagonal

Y.

1

. #0

1

Y #0

Y Yi+l,i

#0

°

for every i

all others zero.

This special structure of the matrix Y admits the

efficient use of sparcity techniques for the solution

The vector of past history is con-

of Equation (7).

structed from the current sources I (t-h).

It is ex-

is thme wave travel time

pedient to select h=T, where -

along any one of the finite elements.

The nodal equations enable the solution of the

voltages e(t) at the various nodes of the

current injections i(t) are known. Table 1 illustrates

system if the

the algorithm for the computation of the transient re-

sponse for a period of tmax seconds with time step h.

The same analysis methodology can be applied to a

set of interconnected earth embedded conductors forming

a ground mat. This analysis is presented in Section 3.

391

TABLE 1. Algorithm for the Computation of the

Transient Response of Grounding Systems.

Step 1:

Partition the grounding system into finite elements.

Step 2: Compute the parameters of each finite element.

Step 3:

Compute

the equivalent resistive network

parameters for each element.

Step 4: Compute the admittance matrix Y.

Invert ma-

trix Y using sparcity techniques. Let k=O.

 Step 5: Let k=k+l. Compute the past history current sources of the equivalent circuits at time t=(k-l)h. Step 6: Compute the external current sources at time t=kh. Compute the vector i(kh) + b((k-l)h). Step 7: Solve for the voltages e(kh) = Y 1(i(kh) + b((k-l)h)). Step 8: If kh > tmax terminate. Otherwise go to Step

2.2 Computation of the-Ground Resistance

This section describes the procedure for the com-

putation of the conductance Ag of a finite element of a grounding system. It is based on the rigorous solution of Laplace's equation in the seminfinite conducting medium of the earth. The description of the method is

rather sketchy.

The computation of the ground resistance includes the following steps. Consider an earth embedded con-

ductor. Further consider an infinitesimal surface dS of the conductor emanating total current dI. The flow

of current dl generates a voltage field in earth which

is governed by Laplace's equation

More details can be found in .

V2V(x,y,z) = 0

(8)

The solution for the voltage at point (x,y,z) due

to current dI has the following general form:

dV(x,y,z) = dI f(x,y,z,ds)

(9)

where f is a function of point (x,y,z), the infini- tesimal surface dS and the soil properties.

Now consider a finite length of the earth embedded

conductor of length i .

Under the assumption of uni-

form current distribution on the surface of this seg-

ment the voltage at (x,y,z) due to the current emanat-

ing from the outside surface of the finite segment is

V1 (x,y,z) = f dV(x,y,z)

whchiscopuedt b

which is computed to be l13]

Vsl(x,y,z) = Ri(x,y,z,j)I.

(10)

(11)

Consider now that the conductor is partitioned in-

to n segments of lengths k1, i

v Q , respectively.

Further assume that the current is uni%ormly emanating

from the surface of each segment and has a total value

11 I29"

In-

The voltage at point (x,y,z) shall be

computed from the superposition of all contributions,

i.e.

392

V(x,y,z) = z V (x,y,z) =

i

R (x,y,z,i)I.

1

(12)

Specifically, the voltage of segment k can be computed

as:

Vk =

Vi(kxky,kz i) =zRkiIi

(13)

Y e(t) = i(t) + b(t-h)

(16)

where the admittance matrix Y is highly sparse (maximum

of three non-zero elements per row), i(t) is the exter-

nally injected currents. Solution of above equation

for times t=0, h, 2h, 3h,

yields the voltages e(t)

everywhere in the substation ground system, as it is

outlined in Table 1.

Writing one such equation for every segment we obtain

In Equation (16) depending on the excitation of

the grounding system, the known quantities will be:

where

wherE

V.

1

Ii

[RI

[

V

n

1

i

[VI = [R][I]

I

=

i]

LIni

is the

voltage of the outside surface of

ment i;

is

is the current emanating from the surfac

segment i; and

an nxn matrix which is symmetric.

Above matrix equation can be inverted to yiel

[I

= [Y[V]

(14)

(a) The externally injected current vector i(t)

(for example, a lightning current wave im- pending at a certain location);

(b) Some of the entries of vector e(t) (for exam-

ple, a voltage wave impeding the grounding

system); and

(c) Combination of above.

In general, every type of surge injected in the

grounding system can be accommodated with Equation

(16). In Section 6, the procedure will be generalized

to the extent of interfacing this model of the ground

seg- mat with the Electromagnetic Transient Analysis Program

[141.

-e of

4. 60-CYCLE IMPEDANCE OF GROUNDING SYSTEMS

The developed models are suitable for the computa-

d tion of the power frequency impedance of grounding sys-

(15)

tems. The 60-cycle

impedance of a grounding system (or

the impedance at any given frequency) can be computed in two ways:

[Y[ = [RI1

Matrix Y represents an admittance matrix w

corresponds to an equivalent circuit [131, as follows:

for the e

hich

arth

(a)

Entry y

of [Y] equals the negative con

Lduc-

tance oiJa element connected between seg i and j; and

equals the conductance of an equiva element connected between segme

and remote earth.

between remote elem

tment

lent

nti

Lents

(b)

y Yi.

dirEAit

The equivalent conductance -y

i and j is in general very sirJall and can be omit

Thus, for every segment an equivalent conductanc

remote earth is computed. This conductance prov

the basis for the computation of the other parame

shown in Sec

of the f inite element as it has been

2.1.

:ted.

e to

rides

ters

:tion

(a)

Inject a sinusoidal current wave (peak value

to the grounding system and compute its

I

)

voltage elevation. This voltage will also be

sinusoidal at steady state. The impedance of

m

the grounding system is computed from the

(b)

peak value of the voltage wave, V , and the

phase difference, C, between voltage and cur-

rent:

m

z

V

I

(17)

Compute the current response, s(t), of the

system to a unit step voltage (see The impedance of the grounding

system at frequency f is then

grounding

Figure 11).

f

s

Z

= 1.0/| ej j27rft s' (t)dt

(18)

3. TRANSIENT ANALYSIS OF GROUND MATS

where s'(t) is the time derivative of the

step response s(t).

The transient response of substation ground mats can be similarly computed with the finite element anal-

ysis procedure described. To this purpose the conduc- tors of the substation ground mat, ground rods, fences,

etc., are segmented into a number of finite elements.

The equivalent circuit representation of the earth as- sociated with above segmentation of the substation ground mat is then computed with the procedure outlined in Section 2.2. Then using Equations (3) and (4), each

finite element is represented with a lossless transmis-

sion line, series resistance and shunt conductance as

it is shown in Section 2.1. Next each finite element is represented with the equivalent circuit of Figure 4.

Nodal analysis for the resulting equivalent circuit yields

Computationally, the second way is more efficient be-

cause the first method requires the simulation of the grounding system response for a long time until sinu-

Computation of the

integral of Equation (18) is straightforward and compu-

tationally

efficient. A computer program has been de-

veloped

for the computation of the Equation (18).

5. TEST RESULTS

The methodology described in this paper has been

implemented and a number of grounding systems have been

studied. These are:

(1)

A 60 meter long

earth embedded 4/0 copper

conductor (burial depth = 0.6 meters).

393

 (2) A 6 x 6 mesh ground mat with 10 meter square scribed in this paper indicate the following. The (b) rise time of stroke, (c) soil resistivity and per- meshes buried at 0.6 meters under the earth level of overvoltages resulting from direct strokes on surface. This system will be referred MAT A. to as substation depend strongly on: (a) conductor spacing, (3) A 10 x 10 mesh ground mat with 6 meter square mittivity, and (d) others. These characteristics of meshes buried at 0.6 meters under the earth ground mats are very important in the design of over- surface. This system will be referred to as voltage protection. Closer spacing of ground mat con- MAT B. ductors yields lesser overvoltages and thus reduces the (4) A 10 x 10 mesh ground mat with 12 meter possibility of backstroke in the case of direct light- square mesh buried at 0.6 meters under the earth surface. This system will be referred ning stroke on a substation grounded structure.

to as MAT C.

Mats A, B, and C are assumed to be constructed from 2/0

copper conductor.

Figures 5 and 6 illustrate the response of a 60

meter long 4/0 copper conductor embedded in 125 Qm soil

at depth of 0.6 meters, to a step and a 1/20 us current

wave respectively:

i

a

(t) =

l

0

1 kA

1

ib (t) = 1.1152 (e

t

t

-0.4t

<

>

-

0

0

-1.8t

e

)

A

In both cases the current is injected at one end of the

conductor. The voltage at both ends of the conductor

and the middle is plotted versus time.

illustrate the

transient response of MAT A to a step current and a 1/20

ps current wave respectively. Figure 7 illustrates the

Figure 7 and Figure 8 curve A,

voltage at

point.

the feeding point, corner and a middle

The following general observations apply:

 (a) During the rise time of the current surge the conductor demonstrates an impedance equal to its characteristic iInpedance for the step surge and a lower value for the exponential wave. (b) As time progresses in Figures 5 and 7, the voltage of the conductor approaches a steady value which is verif ied to be equal to RI where R is the dc resistance to remote earth of the grounding system. In these cases, the resistance is computed to be 4.1777 and 1.0104 ohms respectively. (c) The earth embedded conductor behaves as a

highly lossy transmission line. For example,

that the time to

travel from point A to point C is more than

twice the time to travel from point A to

This is in conformity with experi-

mental results

others. The phenomenon is due to the joint effects of the self-inductance and ground re-

carried out by Bewley and

point B.

in Figure

5

it appears

sistance which leads to a lower and ever de- creasing wave velocity with length.

Figure 8 illustrates, on a common system of coor-

1/20

dinates, the responses of ground mats A and B to a

Pis current surge. These two ground mats cover the same

area and have approximately equal DC resistance to earth (1.0104 and .9876 ohms respectively). However, their transient response is different. Specifically,

the 1/20 impulse generates a much higher overvoltage on

mat A than mat B.

This is due to the fact that the

conductors of mat B are closer spaced than the conduc-

tors of mat A.

Results obtained with the models de-

The ac impedance of the test grounding systems

The effec-

tive resistance, reactance, and inductance for 60 Hz as

The

have been computed and listed in Table 2.

well as for a number of harmonics are tabulated.

soil is assumed to be dry or wet with the indicated

From the table, it is obvious that the

parameters.

reactance of a grounding system depends strongly on its

For medium size

grounding systems the reactance at 60 Hz is substan-

length and the soil permittivity.

tial.

Wet soil, which is characterized with greater

permittivity values tends to decrease the inductance of grounding systems. The resistance, as it is expected

is approximately proportional to the soil resistivity.

These results are in agreement with results obtained through sophisticated measurements techniques of power

system ground impedances .

60 meter

Conductor

Mat A

Mat B

Mat C

60 meter

Conductor

Mat A

Mat B

Mat c

TABLE 2. Impedance of Test Systems

A.

Dry Soil:

p - 1000 ohm-m, Sr M 9.0

Frequency

(Hz)3r-

Resistance

(ohms)}

Reactance

-(ohms)

Inductance

(EHenry)_

60

120

180

240

300

60

120

180

240

300

60

120

180

240

300

60

120

180

240

300

B.

60

120

180

240

300

60

120

180

240

300

60

120

180

240

300

60

120

180

240

300

 33 .421 .0349 .0926 33.421 .0698 .0926 33.421 .1047 .0926 33.421 .1396 .0926 33.421 .1745 .0926 8.083 .0356 .0944 8.083 .0712 .0944 8.083 .1068 .0944 8.083 .1424 .0944 8.083 .1780 .0944 7.661 .0571 .1516 7.661 .1143 .1516 7.663 .1714 .1515 7.665 .2284 .1515 7.668 .2854 .15 14 3.954 .1366 .3623 3.969 .2717 .3603 3.994 .4037 .3569 4.028 .5308 .3520 4.072 .6512 .3455 Wet Soil: p - 100 nm, C r - 36.0 3.342 .0348 .0924 3.342 .0697 .0924 3.342 .1045 .0924 3.342 .1394 .0924 3.342 .1743 .0924 .808 .0360 .0956 .808 .0721 .0956 .808 .1082 .0956 .808 .1443 .0956 .809 .1805 .0956 .766 .0438 .1163 .766 .0875 .1161 .767 .1311 .1159 .767 .1745 .1157 .768 .2176 .1154 .395 .0867 .2299 .397 .1733 .2298 .400 .2587 .2288 .402 .3421 .2268 .402 .4256 .2257

394

 8 8 8 g

0

S.

8

8

8

8

8

00

2o

\0

A

At HeGomo_

a

4.0

C

6.0

TIME (MICRO SECONDS)

16.0

12.0

14.0

FIGURE S.