Grounding, Bonding, & Lightning Protection
Grounding, bonding, and lightning protection can vary based on the application. Telecom structures, buildings, power utility substations, and transmission/distribution systems vary from system to system. In all cases, effective lightning protection can provide security between live conductors and bonded or grounded parts, secure infrastructures and assets, and ensure user safety from protection from lightning strikes.
But how do the systems work?
Bonding & Grounding
The bonding and grounding process entails taking all electrical and metallic masses from a facility and bonding them with conductors to get them to reach the same electrical levels.
The biggest reason for bonding is to implement safety precautions for those around the facility. If someone touches two pieces of electrical components, the last thing you want to happen is an electrical shock that injures them. While bonding protects people, it also keeps equipment safe and decreases unwanted current flows from power or data conductors. As well, it controls the arcing of different pieces of equipment at various electrical potentials.
In facilities built around oil production, arcing is one of the major causes of ignitions. That’s why bonding is essential to ensure safety.
But how does arcing occur? Arcing occurs when high voltage electrical discharges or sparks between two conductive surfaces, or two surfaces that are not in direct contact with each other.
Grounding involves bringing bonded equipment mass to the potential of the earth’s surface. Safety and equipment protection are the biggest concerns when it comes to implementing grounding solutions.
All electricians must consider two types of grounding:
- Structure grounding: Structures are always at risk of being struck by lightning. That’s why grounding is crucial to create multiple pathways to transfer lightning energy. Lightning produces high frequencies and low impedance. The higher the impedance during a lightning strike, the greater the voltage increases. The higher the voltage, the greater the chances the energy will arc and find an unwanted path into the ground. So, when electricians provide multiple pathways within a grounding system that lead to grounding electrodes, they’re creating a safe outcome should lightning strike.
- Services and equipment grounding: With services and equipment grounding, proper connections between equipment bonding sub-systems and grounding systems are vital. A change in the energy potential won’t necessarily damage the equipment, but a drastic change in potential across equipment can cause currents to flow through and damage electrical components.
Why Grounding & Bonding Are Important
It’s well-known amongst professional engineers and electricians that a current follows the path of least resistance. Grounding and bonding solutions ensure that electricity, including fault lines and lightning strikes, flows to a low impedance point and away from people and equipment.
To make sure this happens, we have to control the flow of electricity with minimum voltage drops into the earth. The electrical systems that surround our day-to-day lives are essential and must perform without any interruptions. The grounding and bonding process can guarantee that all systems continue to run smoothly should a disturbance occur.
Why Lightning Protection Is Important
The world is full of complex and sophisticated electrical facilities and equipment. When lightning strikes, you’ll want to ensure you have the best safeguards possible.
Establishing a lightning protection system is integral to controlling the passage of a discharge and minimizing property/equipment damage or system disruption. Lightning is always a potential risk. One strike can cause equipment failure and damage to buildings. Additionally, lightning strikes can cause fires and breakdowns to electrical, communication, and utility services.
By instilling a level of protection against lightning strikes, you can provide absolute protection for structures, operations, and other assets. A reliable lightning protection system requires an adequate grounding system to achieve safety precautions. A low-impedance grounding system may cause hazards to equipment and people without proper bonding, hence the importance of lightning protection.
How Powertec Can Help
Our dependable team at Powertec can provide visual inspections to ensure ground circuits aren’t damaged. We also use multimeters, megohmmeters (meggers), and ground fault testers to determine that the grounding isn’t broken where we can’t see it.
After inspecting the surrounding area, we’ll install surge protection on specific devices or entire panels. We check that a proper grounding rod or plate is used so that the system is appropriately tied-in. If installations or repairs are needed, our electricians can supply that service when needed.
Are you looking for grounding, bonding, and lightning solutions? Our knowledgeable team of electricians can inspect and provide installations for lightning protection. Contact us at Powertec Electric today to receive quality work.