to the 16th Edition IEE Regulations

chapter 5

chapter 6

  5.1 - The earthing principle 5.6 - Protective multiple earthing (PME)
  5.2 - Earthing Systems 5.7 - Earthed concentric wiring
  5.3 - Earth fault loop impedance 5.8 - Other protection methods
5.4 - Protective conductors 5.9 - Residual current devices (RCDs)
5.5 - Earth electrodes

5.10 - Combined functional and protective

5.4.1 - Earthing conductors

The earthing conductor is commonly called the earthing lead. It joins the installation earthing terminal to the earth electrode or to the earth terminal provided by the Electricity Supply Company. It is a vital link in the protective system, so care must be taken to see that its integrity will be preserved at all times. Aluminium conductors and cables may now be used for earthing and bonding, but great care must be taken when doing so to ensure that there will be no problems with corrosion or with electrolytic action where they come into contact with other metals.

Where the final connection to the earth electrode or earthing terminal is made there must be a clear and permanent label Safety Electrical Connection - Do not remove (see {Fig 5.17}). Where a buried earthing conductor is not protected against mechanical damage but is protected against corrosion by a sheath, its minimum size must be 16 mm˛ whether made of copper or coated steel. If it has no corrosion protection, minimum sizes for mechanically unprotected earthing conductors are 25 mm˛ for copper and 50 mm˛ for coated steel.

If not protected against corrosion the latter sizes again apply, whether protected from mechanical damage or not.

Earthing conductors, as well as protective and bonding conductors, must be protected against corrosion. Probably the most common type of corrosion is electrolytic, which is an electro-chemical effect between two different metals when a current passes between them whilst they are in contact with each other and with a weak acid. The acid is likely to be any moisture which has become contaminated with chemicals carried in the air or in the ground. The effect is small on ac supplies because any metal removed whilst current flows in one direction is replaced as it reverses in the next half cycle. For dc Systems, however, it will be necessary to ensure that the system remains perfectly dry (a very difficult task) or to use the 'sacrificial anode' principle.

A main earth terminal or bar must be provided for each installation to collect and connect together all protective and bonding conductors. It must be possible to disconnect the earthing conductor from this terminal for test purposes, but only by the use of a tool. This requirement is intended to prevent unauthorised or unknowing removal of protection.



Return to top of page

Extracted from The Electricians Guide Fifth Edition
by John Whitfield
Published by EPA Press Click Here to order your Copy

Click here for list of abbreviations