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2012 International Conference on Lightning Protection (ICLP), Vienna, Austria

A Simplified Method for Calculating the Tower

Grounding Impedance by Means of Pspice

Alexander Barros Lima! Maurissone Ferreira Guimaraes

Jose Osvaldo Saldanha Paulino Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (CEMIG)
Wallace do Couto Boaventura Belo Horizonte - Brazil
Department of Electrical Engineering mauris@cemig.com.br
Federal University of Minas Gerais
Belo Horizonte - Brazil

Abstract - This paper presents a simplified method for

calculating the tower-footing grounding impedance of a
relative simplicity the computational deployment may be quite
laborious in some cases. Thus, the use of a model in a
transmission line. The grounding is comprised by four simulation computational environment that contains the entire
counterpoises and the proposed method considers the mutual mathematical basis necessary for calculations makes the task
effects between electrodes. The simulations are carried out in simpler. This paper presents a simple method to calculate the
PSPICE program and implementing naturally becomes a simple tower-footing grounding impedance in the time and in the
task. The electrode length and soil resistivity vary for different frequency domain using PSPICE. This computer simulation
values. The simulation results are obtained in the frequency environment has a library that contains a model well suited to
domain and in the time domain showing important features of
modeling this one. The results are obtained in the frequency
the grounding response when subject to an impulsive current.
and in the time domain and non-linear effects (ionization) have

Keywords- Transmission line, Lightning, Grounding, Computer

not been included in the next analysis.


I. INTRODUCTION A typical grounding arrangement used in transmission line

The modeling of a transmission line grounding system towers is shown in Figure 1. It consists of four counterpoises
contains considerable complexity because of the diversity of cables and the pair of cables 1-2 and 3-4 are spaced by d
parameters that need to be considered. On the whole, it appears meters.
that the studies aimed at modeling the grounds adopt empirical,
analytical or numerical solutions which are clearly conditioned
to the evolution of computer processing capability experienced

. . . t
in recent decades. Also, despite the large number of existing
studies, in all cases the models are based on electromagnetic
field theory
theory [5-7].
[1-2], circuit theory [3-4] or transmission lines
;.. ). . ;,,
e ' _________
The models based on electromagnetic field theory (EMF)
have minimum simplifications due to its rigor in mathematical
Right of way
development. However, depending on grounding
admeasurements, the computational processing time can be
Figure 1. Arrangement of the grounding system.
quite high compromising the simplicity and practicality in
obtaining results, characteristics which are desirable in
A very simple model to calculate the grounding impedance
engineering solutions. This is the case of transmission line
of this arrangement is presented in detail in [10]. In this model,
towers grounding systems that have counterpoise length
the lightning current passing through the counterpoises and the
typically ranging between 20m and 90m. To overcome this
mutual couplings are evaluated using a method based on
condition, this work takes advantage of that situations in which
transmission lines theory. The results are compared with those
the results obtained by EMF models and those based on the
obtained by EMF models and it showed excellent agreement.
transmission lines theory (TLT) show excellent agreement [8],
The impedance of this arrangement is defined as the sum of the
[9]. This is the case when soil resistivity is high. These models
input impedances of two lines, one related to the self
are attractive because of the relatively simple mathematical
impedance, Zs, and the other one related to mutual impedance,
modeling and small computer processing time to produce
Zm, weighted by a factor 0.25, as shown in (1).
results. However, it is worth mentioning that despite the

This work was supported by CNPq (Brazilian National Council for

Scientific and Technological Development), FAPEMTG (Minas Gerais State
Research Foundation), CEMIG (Energetic Company of Minas Gerais) and
ANEEL (Brazilian Electricity Regulatory Agency).

978-1-4673-1897-6/12/$31.00 20121EEE
(1) The proposed method using PSPICE is applied to
determine the overvoltage developed at the current input point
and the grounding harmonic impedance. The results are
Equation (1) clearly shows that the impedance is calculated
compared to those obtained directly by transmission line
simply by self and mutual impedance of the electrodes that
theory, since the considered values of soil resistivity are
comprise the grounding. In this case, the self-impedance refers
relatively high. Thus, the transient problem is first solved by a
to a single grounding electrode whatever it is, since all
formulation in the frequency domain given by [12], [13]:
counterpoises have the same geometric characteristics. The

mutual impedance is calculated by any pair of electrodes, 1-2 jmL'
or 3-4, as this arrangement has spatial symmetry [10]. Zo (J'm)-
- (3a)
The PSPICE computational simulation environment has a
transmission line model that considers the losses, TLOSSY,
which is well suited to modeling this grounding. Despite the r(Jm)= jmL(G'+ jmC') , (3b)

existence of models in PSPICE's library that consider mutual
couplings between the system elements, these are related only
Z(Jm)= Zo . coth (r f!. ) , (3c)
to inductance and capacitance. Models that have mutual
resistive coupling are not available. However, it does not pose
a problem. Observing equation (1) it is clear that it is only where, Zo is the characteristic impedance, y is the propagation
necessary to know the self-impedance of one counterpoise and constant,Z is the input impedance of the line, is the angular 0)

the mutual impedance between two parallel counterpoises in frequency, f!. is the line length and j is H . It is worth noting
order to define the grounding impedance of the system. Thus, that RLC parameters in (3) are per-unit-Iength, hence
the self and mutual impedances are obtained from two
L'= LI f!., C'= elf!. e G' = 1/ (Rf!.) .
TLOSSY line models and the grounding impedance, Zg, is
obtained by combining the individual responses of each line, as The frequency range of interest depends mainly on the
shown in Figure 2. current front wave and the frequency components are defmed
using the fast Fourier transform (FFT). The time domain
Figure 2. Self and mutual impedances calculated individually by two
response is then obtained by applying the inverse Fourier

vet)= 3-1 {Z(Jm).3[i(t)]} . (4)

transmission lines and the combination of both defining the grounding Here vet) is the response to an arbitrary excitation i(t), Z(jO))
impedance, Zg. is the impedance to ground, 3 and 3-1 are Fourier and inverse
Fourier transform, respectively.
The electrical parameters of the lines, RLC, are calculated
using the equations proposed by Sunde [11], where: The circuit used in PSPICE is show in Figure 3, where the
far end opposite to the current input point is considered an open
line [14], being represented by a high value resistor.

[ (
)- ] I ' (2a)

C= pc' (2b)


where p is the resistivity of the soil, I> is the electric

permittivity of the soil and 11 is the magnetic permeability of
the soil. With respect to the electrode, f!. is the length, r is the
radius and h is the depth which is buried. The calculation of
line parameters for modeling the mutual coupling is done by
replacing in (2) the radius r by distance d between the Figure 3. Transmission lines associated with self and mutual parameters.
electrodes and the depth h by average depth of the electrodes
[11]. The self and mutual parameters are calculated by (2) and
the results are presented in Table I and Table II, where the RLC
per-unit-Iength parameters are calculated considering: I>r = 15;
h = 0.5m; r = 2.5mm and p = 2400Q.m. The electrode length 0
varies from 30 m to 90 m and the distance between them varies
from 20 m to 50 m. 6{1

sr = 15, h = 0.5m, r = 2.5mm, p = 2400Qm.
' '

e d L' G' C'
N S On:!
(rn) (rn) (J,lH/rn) (J,lS/rn) (pF/rn)
30 20 1.82 214.94 68.51 Om
50 30 1.92 198.31 63.21
20 90m
70 40 1.98 188.69 60.14
90 50 2.04 182.09 58.04
101 10' 104 lOS
Fr' eq u e ncy (H z)
sr = 15, h = 0.5m, r = 2.5mm, p = 2400Qm. Figure 4. Grounding impedance absolute value, sr = 15, h = 0.5m,
r = 2.5mm, p = 2400Qm.
e d L' G' C'
(rn) (rn) (J,lH/rn) (J,lS/rn) (pF/rn)
The overvoltage is obtained in a similar way to that used in
30 20 0.01972 819.93 261.35 defming harmonic impedance. Thus, it is also defmed by (5)
50 30 0.04080 687.29 219.08 and the RLC parameters are calculated by (2). Figure 5 and
70 40 0.05055 624.16 198.95 Figure 6 show the voltages when a fast current wave (1.2/20f..ls)
90 50 0.05619 585.17 186.52 is injected in the grounding electrodes buried in soils of
1000Qm e 2000Qm. As expected, the resistivity increase also
leads to an overvoltage increase. It is also possible to estimate
The grounding response due to an impulsive current the effective length of the electrodes, since there is a length
considering the self and the mutual effects is obtained from which the maximum overvoltage shows no significant
separately by two lines, T1 and T2, as shown in Figure 3. Thus, reduction in maximum values.
the hannonic impedance, Z(jro), and the dynamic impedance,
z(t), is defmed by the combination of both according to (I).
Variables of this equation are replaced by corresponding
PSPICE variables where:

( V(RI: 2) + V(R2:2) ) * 0.25 . (5)

It is worth mentioning that for harmonic impedance 30m

calculation the PSPICE source is set to lAo Thus, the measured
voltages at marked points corresponds to the impedance as in 50m
this case Z=V, although this is not essentially required.


The impedance analysis in the frequency domain allows o--------

knowing the grounding characteristics readily. Figure 4 shows o 1 2 3 5
the magnitude of Zg(jro). It is notorious the existence of two Ti m e ()
distinct regions that characterize the grounding response, one
associated with lower frequencies and another one with higher Figure 5. Overvoltage at the grounding entry point when subjected to a fast
frequencies. Although it is not possible to define an exact current wave (1.2/20J,ls), p = 1000Qm.

frequency for the transition from low to high, one can assume
that this is in the range between 50-kHz to 100-kHz. It is
noteworthy that in the PSPICE each curve is obtained by
response combination of two lines, one associated with self
effects and the other one to the mutual effects.
[9] L. Grcev, "Modeling of grounding electrodes under lightning currents, "
IEEE Transactions on Eletrocmagnetic Compatibility, vol. 51, no. 3, pp.
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Malhas de Aterramento de Torres de Linhas de Transmissao Submetidas
a Descargas Atmosfericas, " IEEE Power and Energy Society - T&D
2010 Latin America, Nov. 2010.
[11]E. D. Sunde, Earth conduction effects in transmission systems. New
York: Dover Publications, 1968.
[12]Jonh Daniel KRAUS and Daniel Fleisch, Electromagnetics, 5th ed.:
McGraw Hill Higher Education, 1999.
[13]Clayton R. Paul, Introduction to Electromagnetic Compatibility, 2nd ed.
Hoboken: Woley, 2006.
[14]] L. Grcev and M. Popov, "On High-Frequency Circuit Equivalents
of a Vertical Ground Rod, " IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery, vol.
5 20, no. 2, pp. 1598-1603, abr. 2005.

TimeC.us )

Figure 6. Overvoltage at the grounding entry point when subjected to a fast

current wave (1.2/20s), p = 2000Qm.


In this paper a method for calculating the tower-footing

grounding impedance including the mutual couplings is
implemented in PSPICE. The analyses in the time and in the
frequency domain with relatively low computational resources
show the versatility of the proposed method. Important
grounding features as overvoltage, time delay and wave
reflections are easily obtained. Moreover, extending the
applicability of this method it is possible using this computer
simulation program to evaluate the overvoltage developed
under insulators strings. It is particularly important in lightning
performance of transmission lines studies.


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