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Abstract--The aim of this work is to propose new simplified

formulas for the calculation of the ground resistance of plate


electrodes placed on two-stratus soil. The main utility of this
study is the determination of the resistance to ground of human
body (R
EB
), since feet can be assimilated to plates, placed on the
soil, to evaluate the step voltage and the touch voltage, to which
the subject can be submitted in the case of a fault in HV systems.
The evaluation of R
EB
, depending on the resistivities of the soils
and on the thickness of the insulating layer, is useful to establish
the safety level of the electrical system. The research have been
carried out with numerical methods using FEM models; the
results have been compared with pre-existing analytical and semi
empirical equations and with experimental tests on civil materials
in laboratory on a scale model.

Index Terms--Electrical safety , power systems.
I. INTRODUCTION
urpose of this investigation is the evaluation of the
resistance to ground of plate electrodes placed on two-
stratus soil. The study of two-stratus soil, in which the
superficial layer has a higher resistivity than the lower ground,
has a significant practical importance, because one of usual
methods to reduce touch voltage and step voltage (Figs. 1 and
3) just consists in insulating the soil by means of a high
resistance layer. The utilisation of plate electrodes, placed on
the soil to simulate the feet, allows to make experimental
measures in situ to establish the respect of the safety limits of
the electrical system. The Figs. 2 and 4 show the circuital
plans reported in the CENELEC Standard HD 637 S1 [2] to
measure the touch voltage and the step voltage.
I I
RE RE I I
UE UE
UST UT

Fig. 1. Touch voltage.




R. Tommasini is with the Department of Electrical Engineering,
Polytechnic of Turin, Turin 10124 Italy (e-mail:
riccardo.tommasini@polito.it).
R. Pertusio is with the Department of Electrical Engineering, Polytechnic
of Turin, Turin 10124 Italy (e-mail: raffaele.pertusio@polito.it).

Fig. 2. Circuital plan for touch voltage measure.



I I
USS USS US


Fig. 3. Step voltage.





Fig. 4. Circuital plan for step voltage measure.

Simplified Formulas for the Ground Resistance
of the Human Body for Two-Stratus Soil
Riccardo Tommasini and Raffaele Pertusio
P
0-7803-7967-5/03/$17.00 2003 IEEE
Paper accepted for presentation at 2003 IEEE Bologna Power Tech Conference, June 23th-26th, Bologna, Italy

Using the Finite Elements Method, with the commercial
software Ansys, and the Resistance Grid Method [6],
developed and applied by the authors for this specific problem,
the influence of the characteristic parameters of the
phenomenon has been studied.
The experimental measures on various typologies of soils
and materials used in building have been made in the
laboratory of Department of Electrical Engineering of
Polytechnic of Turin on a scale model, in order to compare
with the results of the numerical simulations.
II. PARAMETRIC STUDY
In order to comprehend the phenomenon, a lot of numerical
simulations have been made with FEM method and with the
Resistance Grid Method [6], changing the plate side L
p
between 10 and 25 cm and the thickness of the insulating layer
H between 1 and 50 cm, in particular studying the values
between 5 e and 20 cm, of higher practical interest.
The value of the ratio
1
/
2
changes between 1, case of
homogeneous soil, and 1000.
The simulations have allowed to study the influence on
resistance to ground of these parameters:
plate side L
p

thickness of the insulating layer H of resistivity
1

ratio between the resistivities of the two layers
1
/
2

ratio L
p
/H.

To understand how these parameters influence between
themselves and how they intervene on the phenomenon, it is
important to analyse the spatial form of the electric field
around the plate electrode.
A few images of voltage isosurfaces for the cases of higher
interest have been following reported.
A. PARAMETER
1
/
2

In the Figs. 5-6-7, the ratio L
p
/H is constant, while the
parameter
1
/
2
changes:

1
/
2
=0.01 (Fig.5);

1
/
2
=1, homogeneous soil (Fig.6);

1
/
2
=100 (Fig.7).



Fig. 5. Voltage isosurfaces,
1
/
2
=0.01.


Fig. 6. Voltage isosurfaces,
1
/
2
=1.


Fig. 7. Voltage isosurfaces,
1
/
2
=100.



B. PARAMETER L
p
/H
Once fixed the value of the ratio
1
/
2
, the voltage
distribution around the plate electrode depends upon the ratio
L
p
/H only.
For instance, in Figs. 8 and 9, the images of voltage
isosurfaces have been showed for two cases, where the
ratio
1
/
2
is constant and equal to 1000.
In the first case (Fig 8), the ratio L
p
/H is high, so that the
plate side L
p
is very greater than the thickness H, consequently
the voltage isosurfaces tend to become parallel to the plate,
except for the boundary zones, and the current tends to run
through the insulating layer vertically.



Fig. 8. Voltage isosurfaces, L
p
/H=4.


If the ratio L
p
/H is low, so that the thickness is greater than
L
p
, the voltage isosurfaces tend to become hemispherical, as
the case of homogeneous soil (Fig. 6). Now the current shares
itself uniformly through all directions (Fig. 9).



Fig. 9. Voltage isosurfaces, L
p
/H=0.4.

III. GENERAL RELATIONSHIP
The proposed equation is based on the trend of two
characteristic parameters:
1
/
2
and L
p
/H.
The adimensional ratio, named adimensional resistance R
a

|
|
.
|

\
|
=

=
H
L
;

L R
R
p
2
1
2
p
a

gives a value C only depending on the ratio between the two
resistivities
1
/
2
and on the ratio between the square electrode
L
p
and the thickness of the superficial layer H, because these
parameters establish in an univocal way the voltage
conformation and consequently the current flow inside the
ground and the corresponding met resistance.
Fixed the two parameters, the value of the adimensional
resistance is constant and invariant.
A. HOMOGENEOUS SOIL
The case of plate electrode placed on homogeneous soil has
been studied to validate the numerical results with analytical
treatments.
The adimensional resistance has a constant value,
approximately 0.44, because the parameters are meaningless
or it is possible to consider them fixed (
1
/
2
=1, L
p
/H=).
The relationship of R for homogeneous soil is:

p L

0.44 R =
(1)
The numerical results for the square plate coincide with the
analytical data reported in [3] - [4] for the circular plates,
because the electrode area, not its specific shape, influences
the resistance [12].
B. TWO-STRATUS SOIL
For the two-stratus soil, the adimensional resistance
changes between the case of homogeneous soil of resistivity
=
1
for H (L
p
/H=0) and =
2
for H0 (L
p
/H=); for
example, for a constant ratio of
1
/
2
equal to 1000, the
adimensional resistance changes between 440 (H) and
0.44 (H0).
The trends of (RL
p
)/
2
, increasing the ratio
1
/
2
for a
fixed ratio L
p
/H, are linear, with an intersection point for the
case of homogeneous soil (Fig. 10).
(RL
p
)/
2
depends upon two parameters: L
p
/H and
1
/
2
.
(RL
p
)/
2
(L
p
/H,
1
/
2
) has to be a function continuous,
derivable and increasing for any
1
/
2
.
H= represents the case of homogeneous soil with =
1
, so
(RL
p
)/
2
(0,
1
/
2
) is a straight line of equation
(RL
p
)/
1
=k(RL
p
)/
2
=k
1
/
2
, for any
1
/
2
.
H=0 is the case of homogeneous soil with =
2
, so
(RL
p
)/
2
(,
1
/
2
) takes a constant value k =0.44.

(R*Lp)/2
0
3
6
9
12
0 4 8 12 16 20
1/2
Lp/H=infinite Lp/H=20
Lp/H=4 Lp/H=2
Lp/H=1,33 Lp/H=1
Lp/H=0,4 Lp/H=0

Fig. 10. Trend of (RL
p
)/
2
increasing
1
/
2
.

Consequently it is possible to find an analytical equation
for a bundle of straight lines passing through the point q, with
the angular coefficient m function of the ratio L
p
/H.
q m
Lp R
+
|
|
.
|

\
|
=

1
2
1
2


L
p
/2
H

1
/
2
=1000
L
p
/H=4
H

1/

2
=1000 L
p
/H=0.4

It is useful to do a translation of the reference system of the
Fig. 10, taking the new origin into the point (1; 0.44), so it is
possible to give the value of (R*Lp/
2
), got for the
homogeneous soil, the term q. In the Fig. 11, the trend of m,
changing the parameter L
p
/H between 0.2 and 20, is shown; m
varies between 0 and 0.44.

Angular coefficient m
0
0,1
0,2
0,3
0,4
0,5
0 3 6 9 12 15 18 21
Lp/H

Fig. 11. Trend of m increasing L
p
/H.

For L
p
/H <0.2, so that the case where the thickness of the
insulating layer H is at least five times the plate side L
p
, it is
possible to refer to the homogeneous case, with a corrective
coefficient between the values 0.91.
The resistance becomes:
(


Lp Lp
R

44 . 0 ) 1 9 . 0 ( 44 . 0 ) 1 9 . 0 (
1


For L
p
/H>20, the voltage isosurfaces are parallel to the
plate, creating a flux pipe for the current. The study of the
current distribution around the plate with FEM models has
shown that, also for superficial layers very resistive, it is
necessary that the ratio L
p
/H is very high, so that the boundary
perturbations have a little influence and the current is forced to
follow the vertical direction, during the travel through the
insulating layer.
For L
p
/H=20 and
1
/
2
=10, the 90% of the current flows
into the resistive stratus vertically under the plate.
Then the total resistance can be calculated as addition of
the resistance given by the insulating layer and the resistance
of the II stratus, similar to the case of plate on homogeneous
soil.
Lp Sp
H
R
2
44 . 0 1 ) 1 95 . 0 (

+


For 0.2<L
p
/H<20, a single accurate equation for the angular
coefficient m does not exist, so two simple relationships are
proposed, for 0.2<L
p
/H<4 and 4<L
p
/H<20.
For 0.2<L
p
/H<4,
H
Lp
0.23
e 0.43 m

= , then

( )
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
|
|
|
|
.
|

\
|


Lp

0.44
Lp
e 0.43
R
2
2 1
H
Lp
0.23


For 4<L
p
/H<20,
0.8
H
Lp
0.56 m

|
.
|

\
|
= , then

( )
|
|
.
|

\
|
+
|
|
|
|
|
.
|

\
|
|
.
|

\
|

Lp

0.44
Lp
H
Lp
0.56
R
2
2 1
0.8


IV. MUTUAL RESISTANCE
The standard HD 637 indicates the value of 400 cm
2
as
total feet area. In fig.12, the increase of R
EB
, decreasing the
distance between the feet, is shown [7]. For H=100 cm, the 2
electrodes, of area 200 cm
2
, are completely electrical
independent. For the two-stratus soil, with
1
/
2
=10, already at
20 cm, the trend can be considered electrical independent,
since the mutual interference is negligible. The higher voltage
gradient around the plate of two-stratus soil than the
homogeneous soil causes this very low mutual interference.

90
100
110
120
130
140
150
0 20 40 60 80 100
Distance between the feet (cm)
%
Homogeneous soil H=5 cm
H=10 cm H=15 cm

Fig. 12. Trend of R, decreasing the distance between the feet.


V. R
EB
RELATIONSHIP
To evaluate R
EB
, a plate of dimension 200 cm
2
simulates
one foot; so Lp is constant and equal to 0.1414 m.
In this case, the equations for the resistance of one foot R
F

become:
For 70 cm <H<, R
F
is:
R
F
(0.91) 3.1
1
. (2)

For 3.5 cm<H <70 cm:
H
-0.0325
e 0.43 m , then R
F
is:

( ) 2 2 - 1
H
0.0325
F
1 . 3 e 3 R +
|
|
.
|

\
|

(3)
For 0.7 cm <H < 3.5 cm,
8 . 0
H
0.14
0.56 m

|
.
|

\
|
, then R
F
is:
( ) ( ) 2 2 - 1
0.8
F 3.1 H 19 R + (4)


For 0 <H<0.7 cm, the simplified formula of R
F
is:
( ) ( ) 2 1 . 3
0.02
1 9 . 0 R 1
F
+ |
.
|

\
|

H
(5)
Because the feet are electrical independent between each
other, for the touch voltage, R
EB
=R
F
/2, being the feet in
parallel; instead for the step voltage, R
EB
=2R
F
, since the feet
are in series.
VI. COMPARISON WITH STD-80 DATA
In Std80-96 and in Std80-2000, there is this formula for
calculating R
EB
:
S
F C
b 4
1
R
(

=
, (6)
with b=0.08m. (b=radius of circular plate of area 200cm
2
).
C
S
is the surface layer derating factor.
In the Standards there are few formulas for C
S
:
(6a)
| |
30H 7H 2 1
S
e e k 0.21
b
H 2
tan
k) (1
4k
k 1
k 1
C

|
.
|

\
|

|
|
.
|

\
|

|
.
|

\
|

+
=
with k=(
2
-
1
)/(
2
+
1
) between 0 and -0.98 and
0cm<H<30cm.

) 2 /(
1
2
1 1 a H a C
S
+
|
|
.
|

\
|
=

(6b)
with a=0.106. This equation is more accurate than (6a) for
very thin surface layers between 0.005m and 0.02m.
) 2 /(
1
2
1 1 a H a C
S
+
|
|
.
|

\
|
=

(6c)
with a=0.09 and 5cm<H<30cm.
The equations (6b) and (6c) are only valid for b=0.08m.
In the table I, the results of the different equations have
been compared, considering R
EB
=R
F
/2. A very good
agreement between the formulas has been found.
VII. EXPERIMENTAL MEASURES
Experimental tests in laboratory have been carried out with
a scale model (12012010 cm) to measure the resistance of
plate placed on homogeneous soil and on two-stratus soil
(Fig.13).

Fig. 13. Scale model and circuital apparatus.

Successively a few experimental results have been reported
and compared with the values calculated using the relations
previously exposed. In the table II, the experimental data have
been compared with the results of (3).








TABLE I
COMPARISON AMONG PROPOSED FORMULAS AND STANDARD FORMULAS IN SOME CASES

H (m)
1
(m)
2
(m) (3) (4) (6a) (6b) (6c)
0,25 2000 222 2686 * 2771 2639 2701
0,2 2000 222 2611 * 2673 2543 2614
0,15 2000 222 2491,5 * 2521 2399,7 2483
0,1 2000 222 2271 * 2264 2162,6 2263
0,08 15000 222 15110,5 * 14393 14236 15125
0,05 2000 222 1736,4 * 1729 1695,5 1809
0,03 1200 100 * 787 746 778 844
0,02 15000 222 * 6484 5675 6673 7452
0,01 1500 60 * 437 364 451 503






TABLE II
COMPARISON BETWEEN PROPOSED FORMULA AND TESTS IN SOME CASES

Cases Lp:0.18m Experimental data Data (3) %
Sand H:0.05m 1:150m, 2:18.53 m 240 182.5 31,51
Sand H:0.1m 1:150m, 2:16.38 m 320 251 27,49
Sand H:0.05m 1:1640.5m 2:57.3m 2280 1792.5 27,20
Stone Blocks H:0.05m 1:1297.24m, 2:56.53 m, 1850 1433 29,10
Stone Blocks H:0.1m 1:1313.1m 2:50.8 m 2660 2117.5 25,62
Stone Blocks H:0.1m 1:1218.34m 2:50.8 m 2500 1968 27,03
Stone Blocks H:0.1m 1:900m 2:50.8 m 1720 1465 17,41


The analytical results show a correspondence with the
experimental measures. For sand, being an incoherent
material, the resistivity, depending strongly by the pressure,
changes in the zones under the plate and around, modifying
the electric field: Grid Models, made considering this
variation, have shown an increase of the resistance of 10-20%.
For blocks stone, it is very difficult to realize a perfect and
homogeneous contact between the plate and the insulating
surface, so the real area of contact is less than the plate area
and the resistance tends to increase.
VIII. CONCLUSIONS
The research has permitted to work out with easier and
more general relationships for the evaluation of the resistance
to ground of plate electrodes on two-stratus soils. For the two-
stratus soil, a study of the electric field around the square
electrode has been carried out, so the influence of the
parameters L
p
/H and
1
/
2
on the current flow inside the
ground has been made clear.
For two-stratus soils with the superficial layer more
resistive than the lower ground, three specific trends have been
found, depending by the ratio L
p
/H.
For values of L
p
/H high (>20), a simplified model can be
studied where all the current flows vertically under the plate
electrode through the insulating layer and then spread itself
homogeneously in the second layer.
For L
p
/H less than 0.2 the global trend is similar to the case
of homogeneous soil, because the superficial stratus influences
strongly the phenomenon.
For the intermediate values of L
p
/H (0.2 L
p
/H20), two
simple relationships have been proposed to evaluate R.
In particular, for the calculation of R
EB
, since one foot is
modelled as a plate of area 200 cm
2
, L
p
is about 0.14 m and R
F

is:
For 3.5 cm<H <70 cm:
( ) 2 2 - 1
H
0.0325
F
1 . 3 e 3 R +
|
|
.
|

\
|

(3)
For 0.7 cm <H < 3.5 cm:
( ) ( ) 2 2 - 1
0.8
F 3.1 H 19 R + (4)
with H in m,
1
and
2
in m.
In (3), when
1
>>
2
(
1
>10
2
), it is possible to consider
instead of (
1
-
2
) only
1
and to neglect the right term.
For the touch voltage, R
EB
=R
F
/2, being the feet in parallel;
instead for the step voltage, R
EB
=2*R
F
, since the feet are in
series.
These equations have been validate with other relationships
and with experimental measures.
IX. REFERENCES
[1] IEEE Std 80-2000, IEEE Guide for Safety in AC Substation Grounding.
[2] CENELEC Standard HD 637 S1, 1998-12.
[3] H.B. Dwight, Calculation of resistances to Ground, Electrical
Engineering, December 1936.
[4] F. Ollendorf, Erdstrme - J. Springer , 1928.
[5] G.F. Tagg, Earth Resistances. George Newnes Limited, London, 1964.
[6] R. Tommasini, R. Pertusio, Resistance to ground of human body in non
homogeneous soil, IASTED Power and energy systems, Marina del Rey, 13-
15 May 2002, 225-229.
[7] C.H Lee and A.P. Sakis Meliopoulos, Comparison of touch and step
voltages between IEEE Std 80 and IEC 479-1, IEE Proc-Gener. Transm.
Distrib., 146 (5), 1999, 593-601.
[8] J.G. Sverak, Progress in step and touch voltage equations of ANSI/IEE
Std8-Historical Perspective IEEE Transactions on power delivery, 13 (3),
1998, 762-767.
[9] B. Thapar, V. Gerez and H. Kejriwal, Reduction factor for the ground
resistance of the foot in substation yards, IEEE Transactions on power
delivery, 9 (1), 1994, 360-368.
[10] B. Thapar, V. Gerez and P. Emmanuel, Ground resistance of the foot in
substation yards, IEEE Transactions on power delivery, 8 (1), 1994, 1-6.
[11] B. Thapar, V. Gerez and V. Singh, Effective ground resistance of the
human feet in high voltage switchyards, IEEE Transactions on power
delivery, 8 (1), 1993, 7-12.
[12] E.K.N. Yung, R.S.K. Wong and W.W.S. Lee, Analysis of a rectangular
earthing plate, IEE Proceedings-C, 140 (5), 1993, 381-388.
[13] B. Thapar, V. Gerez, A. Balakrishnan and A. Blank, Finite expression
and models for footing resistance in substations, IEEE Transactions on power
delivery, 7 (1), 1992, 219-224.
X. BIOGRAPHIES
Riccardo Tommasini was born in Turin, Italy. He graduated from the
Polytechnic of Turin, Turin, and now is researcher at the Department of
Electrical Engineering of the Polytechnic of Turin. His special fields of
interest include electrical safety.
Raffaele Pertusio was born in Turin, Italy. He graduated from the
Polytechnic of Turin, Turin, and now is Ph.D. Student in Industrial Safety and
Risk Analysis at the Department of Electrical Engineering of the Polytechnic
of Turin. His special fields of interest include electrical safety and FEM
models.