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EARTHING

Definitions:
Connection of the exposed-conductive parts of an
installation to the main earthing terminal of that
installation.
BS 7671
Exposed-Conductive-Part:
Exposed-Conductive-Part:
AA metallic
metallic part
part of
of an
an Installation
Installation or
or Appliance
Appliance
which
which can
can be
be touched
touched by
by persons
persons and
and which
which is
is not
not normally
normally
live
live but
but may
may become
become live
live due
due to
to aa fault
fault condition.
condition.

Extraneous-conductive-part:
Extraneous-conductive-part:
aa metallic
metallic part,
part, structure
structure or
or any
any metalwork
metalwork within
within
aa Premises
Premises which
which is
is not
not part
part of,
of, and
and is
is unrelated
unrelated
to,
to, the
the electrical
electrical Installation
Installation and
and which
which is
is not
not
designed
designed to
to carry
carry current,
current, but
but which
which may
may become
become
live
live
due
due to
to aa fault
fault condition.
condition.

For
For example:
example:
Non-insulated
Non-insulated floors
floors or
or walls,
walls,
Metal
Metal framework
framework of
of buildings
buildings
Metal
Metal conduits
conduits and
and pipework
pipework (not
(not part
part of
of the
the
electrical
electrical installation)
installation) for
for water,
water, gas,
gas, heating,
heating,
compressed-air,
compressed-air, etc.
etc. and
and metal
metal materials
materials
associated
associated with
with them
them

Electric Shock of persons


A person subjected to an electrical voltage is electrified.
According to the gravity of the Electric Shock, this person may
experience:
Discomfort * Muscular contraction * Burn * Cardiac arrest
(Electrocution)

Standards and regulations distinguish two kinds of dangerous


contact,

Direct contact
Indirect contact

Direct contact
This is accidental contact of persons with a live
conductor (phase or neutral) or a normally live
conductive element

Protection measures consist:


in placing these live parts out of reach or in insulating
them by means of insulators, enclosures or barriers..

Indirect contact

Contact of a person with accidentally energized metal frames is


known as indirect contact

Common Reasons:
insulation fault

Protection measures consist:


1st level:
The earthing of all exposed-conductive-parts of electrical
equipment in the installation & the constitution of an
equipotential bonding network.
2nd level:
Automatic disconnection of the supply

Why Earthing is required?


The most important reason is Safety/Protection of
Persons & Property;
So as to protect against electric shock by
indirect contact
(Discomfort/Muscular contraction/Burn/Cardiac arrest)

&
Avoid overheating & fire

GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF EARTHING


Earthing of Exposed-Metallic-Parts of an
Installation and of Appliances in a Premise is
required to serve the following functions of safety:
Allow
Allow the
the passage
passage of
of fault
fault current:
current:

in
inthe
theevent
eventof
ofaalive
liveconductor
conductortouching
touchingan
anExposed-Metallic-Part;
Exposed-Metallic-Part;

Ensure
Ensure that
that the
the magnitude
magnitude of
of fault
fault current
current is
is
sufficient
sufficient to
to operate
operate Protective
Protective Devices:
Devices:
including
including Earth
Earth Leakage
Leakage Protection
Protection devices,
devices,

Ensure
Ensure that,
that, the
the less
less resistance
resistance from
from the
the fault
fault to
to the
the
Earth:
Earth:
so
soas
asto
toavoid
avoidoverheating
overheatingor
orfire.
fire.

SYSTEMS OF EARTHING
Today
Today 33 system
system earthings
earthings such
such as
as defined
defined in
in
IEC
IEC 60364:
60364:

TN
TN

TT
TT

IT
IT

The purpose of these three earthings is identical as regards


protection of persons and property:
They are considered to be equivalent with respect to
safety of persons against indirect contacts.

Identification
Identificationof
ofthe
thesystem
systemtypes
typesis
isthus
thusdefined
definedby
bymeans
meansof
of22
letters:
letters:
The
Thefirst
firstone
onefor
fortransformer
transformerneutral
neutralconnection
connection(2
(2possibilities)
possibilities)
TTfor
for"connected"
"connected"to
tothe
theearth
earth
IIfor
for"isolated"
"isolated"from
fromthe
theearth
earth
The
Thesecond
secondone
onefor
forthe
thetype
typeof
ofapplication
applicationframe
frameconnection
connection
(2
possibilities)
(2 possibilities)
TTfor
"directly
for "directlyconnected"
connected"to
tothe
theearth
earth
NNfor
"connected
to
the
neutral"
at
the
origin
of
for "connected to the neutral" at the origin ofthe
theinstallation
installation

The TT system

One
One point
point at
at the
the supply
supply source
source is
is connected
connected directly
directly to
to earth.
earth.
All
All exposedexposed- and
and extraneous-conductive-parts
extraneous-conductive-parts are
are connected
connected
to
to aa separate
separate earth
earth electrode
electrode at
at the
the installation.
installation.
This
This electrode
electrode may
may or
or may
may not
not be
be electrically
electrically independent
independent of
of
the
the source
source electrode.
electrode.

Protection & Operation Technic in TT system

The
The residual
residual current
current devices
devices (RCDs)
(RCDs) are
are used
used
Interruption
Interruption for
for the
the first
first insulation
insulation fault
fault

The TN system

The
The source
source is
is earthed
earthed as
as for
for the
the TT
TT system
system (above).
(above).
In
In the
the installation,
installation, all
all exposed
exposed and
and extraneous-conductiveextraneous-conductiveparts
parts are
are connected
connected to
to the
the neutral
neutral conductor.
conductor.
The
Theseveral
severalversions
versionsof
ofTN
TNsystems
systemsare
areshown
shownbelow.
below.
TN-C
TN-C
IfIfthe
N
and
PE
neutral
conductors
the N and PE neutral conductorsare
areone
oneand
andthe
thesame
same(PEN)
(PEN)
TN-S
TN-S
IfIfthe
theNNand
andPE
PEneutral
neutralconductors
conductorsare
areseparate
separate

Protection & Operation in TN system

Interruption
Interruption for
for the
the first
first fault
fault using
using overcurrent
overcurrent
protection
protection (circuit-breakers
(circuit-breakers or
or fuses)
fuses)
interruption
interruption for
for the
the first
first insulation
insulation fault
fault

The IT system

No
No intentional
intentional connection
connection is
is made
made between
between the
the neutral
neutral
point
point of
of the
the supply
supply source
source and
and earth.
earth.
ExposedExposed- and
and extraneous-conductive-parts
extraneous-conductive-parts of
of the
the
installation
installation are
are connected
connected to
to an
an earth
earth electrode.
electrode.

Protection & Operation in IT system

Indication
Indication of
of the
the first
first fault
fault by
by an
an insulation
insulation monitoring
monitoring device
device (IMD)
(IMD)
Interruption
Interruption for
for the
the second
second fault
fault using
using overcurrent
overcurrentprotection
protection(CB
(CB
or
or fuses)
fuses)
Monitoring
Monitoring of
of the
the first
first insulation
insulation fault
fault
Mandatory
location
and
clearing
of
the
Mandatory location and clearing of the fault
fault
Interruption
Interruption for
for two
two simultaneous
simultaneous insulation
insulation faults
faults

Fault Current & Automatic disconnection for different


Earthing systems

Automatic disconnection & Protective Devices


for different Earthing systems

CHOOSING THE EARTHING SYSTEM


In
In terms
terms of
of the
the protection
protection of
of persons,
persons, the
the three
three system
system
earthing
earthing arrangements
arrangements (SEA)
(SEA) are
are equivalent
equivalent ifif all
all
installation
installation and
and operating
operating rules
rules are
are correctly
correctly followed.
followed.
Consequently,
Consequently, selection
selection does
does not
not depend
depend on
on safety
safety criteria.
criteria.
Choice
Choice may
may be
be determined
determined by
by normal
normal practice
practice in
in the
the country.
country.
The
Theapplicable
applicableregulations
regulationswhich
whichin
insome
somecases
casesimpose
imposecertain
certaintypes
types
of
SEA
of SEA
Secondly,
Secondly,the
thedecision
decisionof
ofthe
theowner
owner
ififsupply
supplyis
isvia
viaaaprivate
privateMV/LV
MV/LVtransformer
transformer(MV
(MVsubscription)
subscription)or
orthe
the
owner
ownerhas
hasaaprivate
privateenergy
energysource
source(or
(oraaseparate-winding
separate-windingtransformer)
transformer)
IfIfthe
theowner
ownereffectively
effectivelyhas
hasaachoice,
choice,the
thedecision
decisionon
onthe
theSEA
SEAis
istaken
taken
following
discussions
with
the
network
designer
(design
office,
following discussions with the network designer (design office,
contractor)
contractor)

Fault Current & Automatic disconnection for TT


system

The resistance of the earth electrode of substation neutral Rn is 10 .


The resistance of the earth electrode of substation neutral Rn is 10 .
The resistance of the earth electrode of the installation RA is 20 .
The resistance of the earth electrode of the installation RA is 20 .
The earth-fault loop current Id = 7.7 A.
The earth-fault loop current Id = 7.7 A.
The fault voltage Uf = Id x RA = 154 V and therefore dangerous,
The fault voltage Uf = Id x RA = 154 V and therefore dangerous,
But In = 50/20 = 2.5 A so that a standard RCD will operate without
But In = 50/20
= 2.5 and
A sowill
that
a standard
RCD
will aoperate
without
intentional
time delay
clear
the fault
where
fault voltage
intentional
time delay
andon
will
the fault where a fault voltage
exceeding
appears
anclear
exposed-conductive-part.
exceeding appears on an exposed-conductive-part.

Fault Current & Automatic disconnection for TN


system

Automatic disconnection for TN system

The resistance of the earth electrode of substation neutral Rn is 10 .


The resistance of the earth electrode of substation neutral Rn is 10 .
The resistance of the earth electrode of the installation RA is 20 .
The resistance of the earth electrode of the installation RA is 20 .
The earth-fault loop current Id = 7.7 A.
The earth-fault loop current Id = 7.7 A.
The fault voltage Uf = Id x RA = 154 V and therefore dangerous,
The fault voltage Uf = Id x RA = 154 V and therefore dangerous,
But In = 50/20 = 2.5 A so that a standard RCD will operate without
But In = 50/20
= 2.5 and
A sowill
that
a standard
RCD
will aoperate
without
intentional
time delay
clear
the fault
where
fault voltage
intentional
time delay
andon
will
the fault where a fault voltage
exceeding
appears
anclear
exposed-conductive-part.
exceeding appears on an exposed-conductive-part.

SYSTEMS OF EARTHING
Customers must be provided with a supply operating
under either of the following earthing systems:

Customer
Customer Earthed
Earthed System
System (TT):
(TT):

the
the Customer
Customer provides
provides aa Main
Main Earth
Earth Terminal
Terminalfor
for the
the
Installation,
Installation, which
which is
is connected
connected to
to aa sufficient
sufficient number
number of
of local
local
Earth
Earth Electrodes
Electrodes to
to provide
provide aa maximum
maximum Earth
Earth Resistance
Resistance
measured
measured at
at the
the Customers
Customers Main
Main Earth
Earth Terminal
Terminal of
of no
no greater
greater
than
than 10
10 Ohms
Ohms (referred
(referred to
to in
in BS
BS 7671
7671 as
as aa TT
TT system);
system);

Distribution
Distribution Company
Company Earthed
Earthed System
System (TN-S):
(TN-S):

the
the Distribution
DistributionCompany
Companyprovides
providesaa connection
connection to
to the
the
Customers
Customers Main
Main Earth
Earth Terminal,
Terminal, using
using the
the distribution
distribution network
network
Earthing
Earthing system,
system,normally
normally via
via the
the armouring
armouring or
or metallic
metallicsheath
sheath
of
of the
the incoming
incoming supply
supply cable
cable (referred
(referred to
to in
in BS
BS 7671
7671 as
as aa TN-S
TN-S
system).
system).The
The Distribution
Distribution Company
Company system
system is
is earthed
earthedat
at the
the
distribution
distribution transformer
transformer(11kV/400V)
(11kV/400V) and
andseparate
separate earth
earth and
and
neutral
neutral conductors
conductors are
are used
used throughout
throughout the
the distribution
distribution
network;
network; or
or

Distribution
Distribution Company
Company Earthed
Earthed System
System with
with
additional
additional Customer
Customer Earth
Earth (TN-S-TT):
(TN-S-TT):

the
the Distribution
Distribution Company
Company provides
provides an
an earth
earth connection
connection to
to the
the
Customers
Customers Main
Main Earth
Earth Terminal
Terminal and
and aa local
local Earth
Earth provided
provided by
by
the
the Customer
Customer is
is also
also connected
connected to
to the
the same
same MET,
MET, having
having an
an
Earth
Earth Resistance
Resistance value
value of
of no
no greater
greater than
than 10
10 Ohms.
Ohms.

TN-S
TN-S

TT
TT

TT-S-TN
TT-S-TN

Main Earth Terminal


The Main Earth Terminal must be provided
close to or within the Main Distribution Board
or other switchgear at the Supply Intake.

AA means
means of
of removing
removing the
the connection
connection to
to Earth
Earth (such
(such as
as
by
by aa detachable
detachable metal
metal link)
link) must
must be
be provided
provided at
at the
the Main
Main
Earth
Earth Terminal
Terminal to
to facilitate
facilitate testing
testing of
of the
the earthing
earthing of
of the
the
installation
installation and
and the
the source
source of
of supply,
supply,

Main
Main Earth
Earth Terminal
Terminal

Illustration
Illustration shows
shows Distribution
Distribution Company
Company Earthed
Earthed System
System with
with
additional
additional Customer
Customer Earth
Earth (TN-S-TT)
(TN-S-TT)

Earth Electrodes
Earth Electrodes must be provided at Premises which
are supplied by a Customer Earthed System (TT) or a
Distribution Company Earthed System with additional
Customer Earths (TN-S-TT).

For
For Premises
Premises consisting
consisting of
of more
more than
than one
one building,
building,
where
where either
either aa TT
TT or
or TN-S-TT
TN-S-TT system
system is
is used,
used, Earth
Earth
Electrodes
Electrodes must
must be
be provided
provided at
at each
each building
building that
that
is
is more
more than
than 30
30 m
m distance
distance from
from the
the Supply
Supply Intake.
Intake.
Earth
Earth Electrodes
Electrodes will
will normally
normally comprise
comprise of
of 99 to
to 15
15
mm
mm diameter
diameter steel
steel cored
cored copper
copper rods
rods driven
driven to
to aa
minimum
minimum depth
depth of
of 1.2,1.5
1.2,1.5 to
to 33 m.
m. The
The top
top of
of each
each
Earth
Earth Electrode
Electrode must
must be
be housed
housed inside
inside aa 300
300 mm
mm xx
300
300 mm
mm xx 300
300 mm
mm inspection
inspection pit
pit which
which is
is clearly
clearly
labelled
labelled and
and accessible
accessible for
for routine
routine testing,
testing,

Alternative
Alternative types
types of
of Earth
Earth Electrodes
Electrodes may
may be
be used
used
with
with prior
prior approval
approval of
of the
the Distribution
Distribution Company
Company
(e.g.
(e.g. plate
plate or
or wire
wire mesh
mesh type,
type, or
or structural
structural
steelwork
steelwork in
in aa
building)..
building)..

Where
Where more
more than
than one
one Earth
Earth Electrode
Electrode is
is
required
required to
to
achieve
achieve the
the required
required Earth
Earth Resistance
Resistance value
value
these
these must
must be
be separated
separated at
at aa distance
distance
greater
greater than
than their
their mutual
mutual resistance
resistance zone.
zone.

The
The condition
condition of
of the
the ground
ground in
in which
which an
an
Earth
Earth Electrode
Electrode
is
is placed
placed must
must be
be taken
taken into
into account
account to
to
ensure
ensure its
its long-term
long-term performance.
performance. In
In
particular,
particular, potential
potential corrosion
corrosion effects
effects and
and
ground
ground moisture
moisture content
content is
is of
of critical
critical
importance.
importance. Proprietary
Proprietary chemical
chemical or
or salt
salt
materials
materials may
may be
be used
used around
around the
the Earth
Earth
Electrode
Electrode to
to maintain
maintain moisture
moisture content
content but
but
these
these must
must be
be stable
stable and
and sustain
sustain their
their
chemical
chemical properties
properties over
over time.
time.

For
For supplies
supplies of
of 500
500 A
A rating
rating and
and above,
above, at
at
least
least two
two
independent
independent Earth
Earth Electrodes
Electrodes must
must be
be
provided,
provided, regardless
regardless of
of the
the Resistance
Resistance Value
Value
achieved
achieved for
for each
each Earth
Earth Electrode,
Electrode, and
and
connected
connected to
to the
the same
same Main
Main Earth
Earth Terminal,
Terminal,
The
The number
number of
of Earth
Earth Electrodes
Electrodes required
required at
at aa
Premises
Premises will
will be
be determined
determined primarily
primarily by
by the
the
value
value of
of Earth
Earth Resistance
Resistance that
that can
can be
be
achieved
achieved from
from each.
each. However,
However, the
the minimum
minimum
number
number in
in any
any case
case shall
shall
be
be as
as shown
shown below:
below:

However,
However, the
the minimum
minimum number
number in
in any
any case
case
shall
shall
be
be as
as shown
shown below:
below:

Earth Conductor
Main
Main Earth
Earth Conductors
Conductors (MEC):
(MEC):
conductors
conductors connected
connected between
between Distribution
Distribution
Boards,
Boards, Earth
Earth Electrodes
Electrodes and
and Main
Main Earth
Earth
Terminals;
Terminals;
Circuit
Circuit Earth
Earth Conductors
Conductors (CEC):
(CEC):
connected
connected from
from Final
Final Distribution
Distribution Boards
Boards and
and
associated
associated with
with Final
Final Circuits,
Circuits, including
including
Appliance
Appliance Earth
Earth Conductors
Conductors such
such as
as within
within aa
flexible
flexible cord.
cord. Outside
Outside these
these Regulations
Regulations
these
these may
may also
also be
be known
known as
as the
the Circuit
Circuit
Protective
Protective Conductor
Conductor (CPC)
(CPC) or
or Earth
Earth
Continuity
Continuity Conductor
Conductor (ECC).
(ECC).

For
For metal
metal sheathed
sheathed or
or armoured
armoured cables,
cables, the
the sheath
sheath or
or
armouring
armouring may
may be
be used
used as
as the
the Earth
Earth Conductor
Conductor where
where
it
it is
is rated
rated to
to the
the equivalent
equivalent of
of the
the conductor
conductor sizes
sizes
shown
shown

The
The metal
metal sheath
sheath or
or armouring
armouring must
must be
be
terminated
terminated by
by suitable
suitable cable
cable glands
glands with
with
appropriate
appropriate
connection
connection to
to an
an Earth
Earth Conductor,
Conductor,

Sizing of earth conductors and


equipotential bonding conductors

For
For Main
Main Earth
Earth Conductors
Conductors between
between Earth
Earth
Electrodes
Electrodes and
and the
the Main
Main Earth
Earth Terminal
Terminal of
of an
an
Installation,
Installation, SS should
should be
be taken
taken as
as the
the crosscrosssectional
sectional area
area of
of the
the conductors
conductors of
of the
the
incoming
incoming supply
supply cable.
cable. For
For other
other Earth
Earth
Conductors
Conductors SS should
should be
be taken
taken as
as the
the crosscrosssectional
sectional area
area of
of the
the circuit
circuit phase
phase

Exposed-metallic-parts
Metallic part of an Installation
or Appliance which can be touched by persons and
which is not normally live but may become live due
to a fault condition. Exposed-Metallic-Parts are
required to be connected to Earth,
All
All Exposed-Metallic-Parts
Exposed-Metallic-Parts of
of an
an Installation,
Installation, including
including
Appliances,
Appliances, must
must be
be connected
connected to
to Earth
Earth via
via Earth
Earth
Conductors
Conductors in
in accordance
accordance with
with the
the requirements
requirements

All
All connection
connection points
points in
in an
an Installation
Installation must
must
include
include an
an
Earth
Earth Conductor
Conductor for
for future
future use.
use.

The following items must be connected to the


Circuit Earth Conductor, which should be
provided separately for each Final Circuit,
insulated with green/yellow PVC sheath, be of
the appropriate size

Earth Fault Loop Impedance


The Earth Fault Loop Impedance (Zs) is defined as the total
impedance presented to an earth fault current, comprising
the impedance of the following parts of a system,

The
The requirement
requirement for
for connection
connection of
of ExtraneousExtraneousMetalicMetalicParts
Parts to
to Earth
Earth Conductors
Conductors depends
depends on
on the
the type
type of
of
protection
protection system
system used
used in
in an
an Installation
Installation
All
All connection
connection points
points in
in an
an Installation
Installation must
must
include
include an
an
Earth
Earth Conductor
Conductor for
for future
future use.
use.

The
The requirement
requirement for
for connection
connection of
of ExtraneousExtraneousMetalicMetalicParts
Parts to
to Earth
Earth Conductors
Conductors depends
depends on
on the
the type
type of
of
protection
protection system
system used
used in
in an
an Installation
Installation

All
All connection
connection points
points in
in an
an Installation
Installation must
must
include
include an
an
Earth
Earth Conductor
Conductor for
for future
future use.
use.