Grounding and Bonding: What Are They, What Is the Difference, and Why It's Important to Know
Updated: Nov 12, 2018
Looking to learn more about electrical engineering?
There are many reasons to learn more about the finer things in electrical engineering. You can start to understand the flow of electricity in your house, you can set up your own efficient conduits, and you can prepare your children to continue in this career path.
That said, the main benefit in learning about electrical engineering is knowing more about the safety guidelines and standard therein. When you talk about electrical safety, the most common words you're likely to hear are grounding and bonding.
Most people don't know what they are and tend to overlook them. This puts them and their family at risk from suffering a serious shock.
Below, we'll talk about what bonding and grounding are and why they're important. Read on to find out how you can keep your household safe.
What Is Electrical Grounding?
By definition, grounding is the act of placing an electrical conductor in the earth. This means that grounding protects the power generators. It also ensures the electrical current has a safe path to return to the power source.
In doing this, you can protect your generators from becoming overloaded. Grounding allows the distribution of the electrical current through the ground in the event of a high voltage surge.
The basic function of grounding is to protect you from getting an electrical shock. Many electrical devices and appliances often have electrical currents flow to unwanted areas. Grounding prevents the electricity from remaining there and instead, redirects it back to the main power generator.
The most common way appliances do this is through a series of wires leading to specialized parts. Once a part gets unwarranted electrical flow, wires redirect it towards the special part. Often, these parts shut down the appliance or machine altogether.
The special parts are what people call grounding electrodes. These come in different forms but all perform the same function. Grounding electrodes absorb excess electricity and what happens next depends on what type of electrode they are.
Electrodes like these are the most common ones you'll see. Their function is quite simple compared to other electrodes. People bury them in the soil standing up and they disperse electricity around them.
There is another variation of the driven rod called advanced driven rods. What makes them different is that people modify their bodies to become like screws. This makes it easier for people to drive them down in the soil.
These plates are much like grounding rods, but they cover a wider area. This allows them to disperse the electricity in a larger area. A larger area allows them to be more resistant than other electrodes.
Ground plates can survive in environments where driven rods tend to corrode. This is why they're becoming the more preferred type of electrode.
Also known as ufer ground, these electrodes are often surrounded by concrete tubes. You can find most of these concrete fixtures underground. These kinds of electrodes tend to spread out over a large area.
Having a larger area means they can absorb even more electricity. This is why big factories use this kind of electrode most of the time.
Their concrete exterior helps prevent them from exposure of the elements. This makes sure the electrodes don't corrode sooner than expected.
A trait water has is it being a good conductor of electricity. Many people took advantage of this trait when they designed an electrode centered around using water. They came up with a system that could use water to redirect and isolate electricity.
However, this type of electrode is inefficient and costs a lot. It needs a constant stream of electricity to keep it charged for it to be reliable. It also requires a lot of maintenance and specific measurements to work.
Importance of Grounding
Grounding electronics help out a lot over the course of a year but it doesn't get the recognition it deserves. As mentioned above, it protects you from getting a shock, but it does more than that.
In the event of a lightning storm, grounding makes sure that your electrical set up doesn't become overloaded. Once lightning strikes your home, a big surge of electricity passes through it. This is what causes power surges and outages.
Having a good ground system drains the excess electricity to the electrodes. It disperses the electricity before the surge can damage any power outlets.
Grounding also serves to control electric build up. Electrodes can hold a certain amount of static charge before it needs to release it. This feature allows them to collect any harmful electrical currents from devices before they're damaged.
What Is Electrical Bonding?
While it also provides protection, bonding does it in a different way than grounding. Instead, bonding connects two different electrical conductors through electrical means or with a simple binding instrument.
People do electrical bonding to match the amount of current flowing in one conductor. The bound conductors now have the same level of current flowing in them. This current prevents them from building up electricity between the two conductors.
Importance of Bonding
Bonding electrical conductors together prevent them from colliding in the future. Having 2 high-voltage conductors close together is not advisable, but sometimes unavoidable.
When two conductors of different voltages touch, it can cause many hazards like an arc. This can lead to fires, fatal electric shocks, and many more. Bonding them forces them to share the same current until they break apart.
Bonding also prevents other objects from becoming energized. It's standard for certain electrical appliances to have non-current conducting parts bonded. Not having bonds like these turn appliances into fire hazards.
Know the Difference Between Grounding and Bonding and Their Importance Now
You should never overlook anything when it comes to safety. Knowing the difference between grounding vs bonding may prevent accidents from happening.
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