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Materials (Basel). 2020 Jan 8;13(2). pii: E290. doi: 10.3390/ma13020290.

Estimation of an Upper Bound to the Value of the Step Potentials in Two-Layered Soils from Grounding Resistance Measurements.

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Polytechnic University of Madrid (UPM), Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería y Diseño Industrial (ETSIDI), Ronda de Valencia 3, 28012 Madrid, Spain.
LCOE Laboratory, Calle Diesel 13. P.I. El Lomo, 28906 Madrid, Spain.
Union Fenosa Distribución (UFD). Avenida San Luis 77, 28033 Madrid, Spain.


Due to the constant updating of regulatory standards on safety issues in electrical installations, limits are established for the maximum step potential that an installation can hold in a ground fault situation. In this paper, an upper bound to the maximum value of the step potentials arising in the soil surface when a fault takes place in a grounded electrical installation is estimated by means of a simple procedure. The direct measurement of the grounding electrode resistance together with some information about the soil resistivity and the knowledge of characteristic parameters of the electrode are used for the calculation of that upper bound. The procedure is tested at numerical simulation level by using different electrodes in several different scenarios corresponding to two-layered soils with different resistivity ratios. The dependency of the calculated upper bound with the electrode burial depth is also studied. Finally, a real case study is presented, and the results of the field measurements are shown as an example of the validity of the procedure.


grounding electrodes in two-layered soils; step and touch potentials; step potentials upper bound

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