Earthing Explained: What is the Role of a Back Fill Compound?

Earthing is a necessary element in most engineering projects in terms of keeping buildings, machinery and appliances protected, as well as keeping people onsite safe. It’s crucial that you stay protected from all sources of over-voltage, which can have an impact on your projects, such as lightning, power surges and unintentional contact with higher voltage lines.

Engineering projects, big and small, are comprised of many different elements. You need to ensure that you fulfil every requirement of the job, finish the job to the correct spec and be sure that the project is completed to the highest safety standard. This is where earthing comes into play and products such as backfill compounds become critical in minimising any potential issues now and into the future.

Continue reading to learn more about earthing and how using the right backfill compound can ensure your engineering project is completed safely.

Do You Need Earthing?

Despite advances in technology and infrastructure, electrical systems are still susceptible to attack. Electrical systems experience failure and damage due to several reasons, such as short circuits, high voltage exposure, lightning, power surges and fault currents. The damage caused can range from an inconvenience to life threatening.

Why is Earthing Important?

If a structure has electricity running through it, it needs to be earthed to avoid damage to the property and any appliances or machinery that may be in use. Earthing your property is also vital in protecting human life as a surge can lead to serious injury and/or death depending on the severity of the charge. To provide adequate protection, you need to ensure that you use the correct earthing techniques and materials for the project you are working on.

How Does Earthing Work?

When a structure experiences an electrical surge, it needs to be protected from over-voltage. Earthing a structure provides this additional energy with an alternative path to follow taking it away from areas where it could cause serious damage. Depending on the makeup of the soil where your project is based, you will need to either maintain or increase the level of moisture in the ground for optimal earthing results. This is where choosing the right backfill compound comes into play.

What Exactly is the Role of a Backfill Compound?

A backfill compound is a product which can consist of various materials that help to retain moisture levels in the soil around earthed electrodes. This backfill compound will help to prevent electrical currents from leaking from your earthing system, keeping your property, its contents and occupants safe.

The best backfill compounds can be poured or pumped in slurry form and require no tamping. Always aim to select a backfill compound that is not affected by freezing, is not susceptible to expansion or shrinkage and is easy to install. Do your part for the environment by choosing a backfill compound that is environmentally friendly, economical, does not contain any hazardous chemicals and will not need to be recharged in the future, saving you time and money.

Soil Considerations When Choosing a Backfill Compound

Earthing systems work underground and as a result, there are various things that you need to consider when choosing the right backfill compound. With regards to the soil, you need to consider the moisture content of the soil, the level of soil resistivity and the levels of acidity. It’s also important that you give due consideration to the type of soil you are dealing with, for example, sandy, rocky, earthy, etc. You should also consider any climate change issues which may cause problems down the line.

Choosing the right backfill compound will allow you to complete your project, knowing that you have taken the necessary precautions to protect your property. With your structures earthed, the machinery, systems and appliances will be safe from damage and the inhabitants will be well-protected from any over-voltage issues.

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