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Three-phase power systems are earthed by connecting one or more selected neutral points to buried earth electrode systems. Such earths are referred to as system earths. At electrical installations, all non-live conductive metallic parts are interconnected and also earthed to protect people against electric shock, and in this role, the earth is referred to as a protective earth. Under normal conditions, there is only a residual current or no current at all in the earth path. However, very high magnitudes of current return to source via the earth path under fault conditions. The earth also conducts lightning currents and the current path may involve part of a power system either directly or by induction. The earthing system, or part of it, may therefore also be specifically designed to act as a lightning protective earth.

Inspec keywords: power system protection; earth electrodes

Other keywords: protective earth; earthing system; system earths; three-phase power systems; buried earth electrode systems

Subjects: Protection apparatus

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