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# International Journal of Electrical Engineering and Technology (IJEET), ISSN 0976 6545(Print), ISSN

## 0976 6553(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, October December (2012), IAEME

156

CALCULATION OF GROUNDING RESISTANCE AND EARTH
SURFACE POTENTIAL FOR TWO LAYER MODEL SOIL

Hatim Ghazi Zaini
Taif University, Faculty of Engineering, Electrical department
h.zaini@tu.edu.sa

ABSTRACT

For two layer model soil, the calculation of apparent resistivity is considered very important
issue since the absent of a specified method to find it. Some empirical resistivity formula is
used in this paper to present the apparent resistivity of the two layer model soil. A current
simulation method technique which is a practical technique for calculating the grounding
resistance (R
g
) as well as the Earth Surface Potential (ESP) of the grounding grids in two-
layer model soil which based upon the apparent resistivity of the two layer soil and
simulating current sources is used. it is analogous to the Charge Simulation Method. The
validation of the method is described by a comparison with the results in literatures.

Index terms--Grounding grids, two-layer soil, current simulation method, Computer methods
for grounding analysis, System protection.

I. NOMENCLATURE
P
aij
= Potential coefficient matrix related to apparent resistivity
P
1ij
, P
2ij
Potential coefficient matrix related to resistivity of layer 1 and 2 respectively
I
j
=current source at point j
V
i
= voltage at evaluation point i

a
=apparent soil reistivity

1
=soil reistivity of layer 1

2
=soil reistivity of layer 2
d =distance between current source point and evaluation point in original grid
d' =distance between current source point and evaluation point in image grid
J =current density (A/m
2
)
F =field coefficient
zz
i
& zz
j
= the dimension of the contour point and current source in z direction respectively
R
g
=grounding resistance
d
0
= the depth to the boundary of the zones,
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ELECTRICAL ENGINEERING
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ISSN 0976 6545(Print)
ISSN 0976 6553(Online)
Volume 3, Issue 3, October - December (2012), pp. 156-163
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International Journal of Electrical Engineering and Technology (IJEET), ISSN 0976 6545(Print), ISSN
0976 6553(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, October December (2012), IAEME
157

K = the reflection factor (K=(
2
-
1
)/ (
1
+
2
))
z = the top layer depth
GPR=Ground potential rise (V)
V
touch
= touch voltage
II. INTRODUCTION
The knowledge of the grounding systems impulse characteristics has a great significance for
a proper evaluation of substation equipment stresses from lightning over-voltages and
lightning protection evaluation. As it is stated in the ANSI/IEEE a safe grounding design has
two objectives: the first one is the ability to carry the electric currents into earth under normal
and fault conditions without exceeding operating and equipment limits or adversely affecting
continuity of service. The second is how this grounding system ensures that the person in the
vicinity of grounded facilities is not exposed to the danger of electric shock.
To attain these targets, the equivalent electrical resistance (R
g
) of the system must be low
enough to assure that fault currents dissipate mainly through the grounding grid into the
earth, while maximum potential difference between close points into the earths surface must
be kept under certain tolerances (step, touch, and mesh voltages). Analysis of substation
grounding systems, including buried grids and driven rods has been the subject of many
recent papers [1- 4].
Several publications [5-19] have discussed the analytical methods used when uniform and
two-layer soils are involved.
This paper uses a practical method to calculate the grounding resistance as well as the
earth surface potential for grounding grids which buried in uniform and two-layer soil. This
method is Current Simulation Method (CSM). The Current Simulation Method is analogous
to Charge Simulation Method.
The validation of a proposed method is explained by comparison between the results from
the proposed method and the other that formulated in [1].
III. CURRENT SIMULATION METHOD IN TWO-LAYER SOIL
The representation of a ground electrode based on equivalent two-layer soil is generally
sufficient for designing a safe grounding system. However, a more accurate representation of
the actual soil conditions can be obtained by using two-layer soil model [13].
As in the Current Simulation Method, the actual electric filed is simulated with a field
formed by a number of discrete current sources which are placed outside the region where the
field solution is desired. Values of the discrete current sources are determined by satisfying
the boundary conditions at a selected number of contour points. Once the values and
positions of simulation current sources are known, the potential and field distribution
anywhere in the region can be computed easily [20].
The field computation for the two-layer soil system is somewhat complicated due to the
fact that the dipoles are realigned in different soils under the influence of the applied voltage.
Such realignment of dipoles produces a net surface current on the dielectric interface. Thus in
addition to the electrodes, each dielectric interface needs to be simulated by fictitious current
sources. Here, it is important to note that the interface boundary does not correspond to an
equipotential surface. Moreover, it must be possible to calculate the electric field on both
sides of the interface boundary.
In the simple example shown in Fig. 1, there are N
1
numbers of current sources and
contour points to simulate the electrode, of which N
A
are on the side of soil A and (N
1
- N
A
)
are on the side of soil B. These N
1
current sources are valid for field calculation in both soils.
At the different soil interface there are N
2
contour points (N
1
+1,.., N
1
+N
2
), with N
2

International Journal of Electrical Engineering and Technology (IJEET), ISSN 0976 6545(Print), ISSN
0976 6553(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, October December (2012), IAEME
158

current sources (N
1
+1,..,N
1
+N
2
) in soil A valid for soil B and N
2
current sources (N
1
+N
2

+1,..,N
1
+2N
2
) in soil B valid for soil A. Altogether there are (N
1
+N
2
) number of contour
points and (N
1
+ 2N
2
) number of current sources.
As in Fig. 1, h is the grid depth and z is the depth of top layer soil. In order to determine
the fictitious current sources, a system of equations is formulated by imposing the following
boundary conditions.
- At each contour point on the electrode surface the potential must be equal to the
known electrode potential. This condition is also known as Dirichlets condition on the
electrode surface.
- At each contour point on the dielectric interface, the potential and the normal
component of flux density must be same when computed from either side of the
boundary.
Thus the application of the first boundary condition to contour points 1 to N
1
yields the
following equations.

1
1
, 2
1
,
2
1
, 1
1
,
, 1 .....
, 1 .....
2 1
!
1
2 1
2 !
1
N N i V I P I P
N i V I P I P
A
N N
N j
j j i
N
j
j j i a
A
N N
N N j
j j i
N
j
j j i a
+ = = +
= = +

+
+ = =
+
+ + = =

(1)
where,
|

\
|
+ =
|

\
|
+ = |

\
|
+ =
'
2
, 2
'
1
, 1
' ,
1 1
4

1 1
4
,
1 1
4
d d
P
d d
P
d d
P
j i
j i
a
j i a
t

Again the application of the second boundary condition for potential and normal current
density to contour points = N
1
+1 to N
1
+N
2
on the dielectric interface results into the
following equations. From potential continuity condition:

2 1 1
2
1
, 1
1
, 2
, 1 .... 0
2 1
2 !
2 1
1
N N N i I P I P
N N
N N j
j j i
N N
N j
j j i
+ + = =

+
+ + =
+
+ =

(2)

From continuity condition of normal current density J
n
:
( ) ( )
2 1 1 2 1
, 1 0 N N N i for i J i J
n n
+ + = = (3)
Eqn. (3) can be expanded as follows:
2 1 1
2
1
,
1
1
1
,
2
2 1
,
2 1
, 1 .......... 0
1
1 1 1
2 1
2 !
2 1
!
1
N N N i I F
I F I F
N N
N N j
j
j i
N N
N j
j
j i
N
j
j
j i
a
+ + = =
+
|
|

\
|

+
+ + =

+
+ =

=

(4)

where,
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
( ) ( )
|
|

\
|

+

=
c
c
=
|
|

\
|

+

=
c
c
=
|
|

\
|

+

=
c
c
=

3 '
'
3
2
2
,
2
3 '
'
3
1
1
,
1
3 '
'
3 ,
4
4
4
d
zz zz
d
zz zz
z
P
F
d
zz zz
d
zz zz
z
P
F
d
zz zz
d
zz zz
z
P
F
j i j i ij
j i
j i j i ij
j i
j i j i
a
ij a
j i
a
t

International Journal of Electrical Engineering and Technology (IJEET), ISSN 0976 6545(Print), ISSN
0976 6553(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, October December (2012), IAEME
159

Fig.1. Fictitious current source with contour points for field calculation by current simulation
method in two-layer soil.

where, F
,ij
is the field coefficient in the normal direction to the soil boundary at the
respective contour point,
a,

1
&
2
are the apparent resistivity nd resistivities of soil 1 and 2
respectively and zz
i
& zz
j
are the dimension of the contour point and current source in z
direction respectively. Equations 1 to 4 are solved to determine the unknown fictitious current
sources.
After solving 1 to 4 to determine the unknown fictitious current source points, the potential
on the earth surface can be calculated by using Eq. 1. Also, the ground resistance (R
g
) can be
calculated using the following equation:

=
=
1
1
N
j
g
I
V
R

(5)

where, V is the voltage applied on the grid which is assumed 1V.

The problem for the proposed method is how the apparent resistivity can be calculated. As
in [18], the apparent resistivity for two soil model calculates by the following formula;
( )
1 2
2
1
2
1
1
for
1 1 1
0

<
(
(
(

(
(

(
(

|
|

\
|
+
=
+ z d K
a
e

(6)

( )
1 2
2
1
1
2
2
for 1 1 1
0

>
(
(
(

(
(

(
(

|
|

\
|
+ =
+

z d K
a
e

(7)

where, d
0
is the depth to the boundary of the zones, K is the reflection factor (K=(
2
-
1
)/ (

1
+
2
)) and z is the top layer depth.
Equations 6 and 7 are valid for the boundary depth greater than or equal the grid depth. But
in [19], Eq. 7 is modified because at very large depth of upper soil layer, resistivity
a
given
International Journal of Electrical Engineering and Technology (IJEET), ISSN 0976 6545(Print), ISSN
0976 6553(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, October December (2012), IAEME
160

by Eq. 7 tends to
2
. This is physically incorrect if the electrode lies in the upper soil layer, as
assumed in [18]. Therefore, Eq. 7 is modified [19] as follows:
( )
1 2
2
1
1
2
1
for 1 1 1
0

>
(
(
(

(
(

(
(

|
|

\
|
+ =
+

z d K
a
e

(8)

For finite h and very large d
0
, resistivity
a
given by Eq. 8 tends to
1
, which is in
compliance with physical reasoning.
When the boundary depth is lower than the grid depth, the apparent resistivity tends to
2
.
Therefore, by using Eq. 6 and 8 for calculating the grounding resistance by Current
Simulation Method, the large different between the proposed method results and the results in
[1] is observed for K<-0.5 and this shown in Fig.2.
If Eq. 8 is modified as in 9 the results by the proposed method are good agreement with the
results in [1].
( )
1 2
15
1
1
2
1
for 1 1 1
0

>
(
(
(

(
(

(
(

|
|

\
|
+ =
+

z d K
a
e

(9)

Figures 3 and 4 present the comparison of the results calculated by the proposed method
with the results reported in [1] for a square 30m*30m, 4 and 16 meshes grids buried at 0.5 m
depth in various two layer structures. It is noticed from Figs. 3 and 4 that the proposed
method gives a good agreement with the results in [1].
IV. GROUNDING RESISTANCE AND EARTH SURFACE POTENTIAL
It is clear that the Ground Potential Rise (GPR) as well as distribution of the Earth Surface
Potential (ESP) during flow the impulse current into the grounding system is important
parameters for the protection against electric shock. The distribution of the Earth Surface
Potential helps us to determine the step and touch voltages, which are very important for
human safe.
The maximum percentage value of V
touch
is given by:
100
_
%
min
=
GPR
V GPR
MaxV
touch

(10)

where, GPR is the ground potential rise, which equal the product of the equivalent resistance
of grid and the fault current and V
min
is the minimum surface potential in the grid boundary.
The maximum step voltage of a grid will be the highest value of step voltages of the
grounding grid. The maximum step voltage can be calculated by using the slope of the secant
line.
Figure 5 explains the Earth Surface Potential per Ground Potential Rise (ESP/GPR) when
the case is square grid, 36 meshes, grid dimension 60m*60m, vertical rod length that connect
to grid 6m, grid conductor radius 0.005m, grid depth 0.7m, the top layer to lower layer
resistivity 1000/100 ohm.m and the top layer depth 3m. Fig. 6 illustrates that the maximum
touch voltage occurs at the boundary of the grid near the corner mesh but the maximum step
voltage occurs outside the boundary of the grid near the edge of it.
International Journal of Electrical Engineering and Technology (IJEET), ISSN 0976 6545(Print), ISSN
0976 6553(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, October December (2012), IAEME
161

Fig. 2. Relation between 4 meshes grid resistance and the top layer depth

Fig. 3. Relation between 4 meshes grid resistance and the top layer depth

Fig. 4. Relation between 16 meshes grid resistance and the top layer depth
International Journal of Electrical Engineering and Technology (IJEET), ISSN 0976 6545(Print), ISSN
0976 6553(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, October December (2012), IAEME
162

0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
-80 -60 -40 -20 0 20 40 60 80
E
S
P
/
G
P
R
Distance from the grid center (m)

Fig. 5. ESP/ GPR for 36 meshes square grid

0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
-80 -60 -40 -20 0 20 40 60 80
E
S
P
,

S
t
e
p

a
n
d

T
o
u
c
h

V
o
l
t
a
g
e
s
/
G
P
R
Distance from grid center (m)
ESP/GPR Step Voltage/GPR Touch Voltage/GPR

Fig. 6. ESP, Step and Touch voltages / GPR for 36 meshes square grid
V. CONCLUSIONS
This paper aims to calculate the Earth Surface Potential due to discharging current into
grounding grid in two-layer soil by using a traditional but practical method which is the
Current Simulation Method. The validation of the method is satisfying by a comparison
between the results from the method and the results in [1]. It is seen that a good agreement
between the proposed method results and the results in [1].
VI. REFERENCES
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on Power Apparatus and Systems, Vol. Pas-98, No. 5, pp. 1659-1668, Sep/Oct: 1979.
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of grounding grids, IEEE Transactions on Power Apparatus and Systems, Vol. Pas-99,
No. 1, pp. 174-179, Jan/Feb: 1980.
[3] Substation Committee Working Group 78.1, Safe substation grounding, Part II, IEEE
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International Journal of Electrical Engineering and Technology (IJEET), ISSN 0976 6545(Print), ISSN
0976 6553(Online) Volume 3, Issue 3, October December (2012), IAEME
163

International Journal of Electrical Engineering and Technology (IJEET), Volume 3,
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