Earthing with Driven Copper Electrodes

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    A HUNDRED years ago, when electricity was usually generated by the use of frictional or Wimshurst machines and detected by gold leaf electroscopes, it was well known that an electric charge on a conducting surface could be dissipated by connecting the charged surface to earth. It is now found that owing to the increasing electric power behind modern networks, in order to get safe operation special attention, has,to be paid to the conductor connecting charged metallic objects to earth. Copper electrodes of small diameter cannot be driven with a sledge-hammer unless the ground be soft, as the rod will bend or the top will be deformed. The Copper Development Association of Thames House, Milbank, London, S.W.I, has published a booklet entitled “Copper for Earthing” which gives several useful hints on this problem. The most satisfactory method of driving copper electrodes into the earth is by means of an electric hammer which delivers a large number of light blows. The usual procedure is to choose the wettest or the most low-lying spot in the neighbourhood and drive a copper rod of small diameter into the earth to a depth of about eight feet. The earth resistance is then measured; if too high, several more rods can be driven in and connected in parallel. This is necessary for earthing mains where a possible fault current may be very large. The booklet points out that, even now, earth connexions are sometimes made by a few feet of conduit buried outside the house or under the floor in contact with a small iron plate or with the hot-water piping system. Sometimes even a large electric machine is earthed by binding the wire round a loose rock lying on the ground. In one case the earthing wire was found to terminate in a bottle of water !

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    Earthing with Driven Copper Electrodes. Nature 143, 1062 (1939) doi:10.1038/1431062c0

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