Grounding systems. Recommendations of European standards

Poland actively enacts the latest generation of European standards for the construction of lightning and surge protection systems. But the authors of this article consider that not all of the requirements of the new standards are correct and consistent with each other.

The experience of Polish colleagues who have carefully analyzed the latest regulations can help Russian developers and designers to avoid making wrong decisions.

The article was published with the consent of the Centre of protection against overvoltages and electromagnetic interferences in Bialystok.

Mirosław Zielenkiewicz, dr inż.
Tomasz Maksimowicz, dr inż.
Robert Marciniak, mgr


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The main prerequisite of long-term and effective operation of the ground system is the correct selection of materials, which are used in the structures of interconnected natural and artificial ground electrode systems. The selection of incompatible materials may lead to the accelerated corrosion of ground electrode system components and eventually to the rapid deterioration of their electrical parameters.

In many cases, the foundation ground electrode system is an effective solution for the grounding of electrical or lightning protection systems. In this relation, it is currently required to use it as the main ground electrode system at construction facilities, including transformer substations and high, medium and low voltage power lines. It is often required to connect such a ground electrode system to the additional external artificial ground electrodes in order to achieve a rather small active grounding resistance or to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements regarding the geometric dimensions of a ground electrode system. According to the requirements of standard [1] the buried metal components of an artificial ground electrode system connected to the foundation ground electrode system should be made only of copper, copper-bonded steel or stainless steel. The use of galvanized steel this purpose is unacceptable because of an exceedingly big difference between the electrochemical potentials of galvanized steel in the soil and the concrete, which contributes to the accelerated corrosion of the external ground electrode system (galvanized steel).

The modern principles of foundation and artificial ground electrode systems design used at construction facilities are described in detail in PN-EN 62305-3: 2009 standard mentioned in the Decree of the Minister of Infrastructure on technical requirements for buildings and their location [3]. This standard is currently used in the 2011 edition [1]. It has the status of a mandatory document, so foundation ground electrode systems and their connection with argificial ground electrodes should be carried out in accordance with its requirements.

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