EMC implementation - Improving equipotential conditions

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Bonding networks

Even though the ideal bonding network would be made of sheet metal or a fine mesh, experience has shown that for most disturbances, a three-metre mesh size is sufficient to create a mesh bonding network.

Examples of different bonding networks are shown in Figure R7. The minimum recommended structure comprises a conductor (e.g. copper cable or strip) surrounding the room.

Fig. R7 – Examples of bonding networks

The length of connections between a structural element and the bonding network does not exceed 50 centimetres and an additional connection should be installed in parallel at a certain distance from the first. The inductance of the connection between the earthing bar of the electrical enclosure for a set of equipment and the bonding network (see below) should be less than one µHenry (0.5 µH, if possible). For example, it is possible to use a single 50 cm conductor or two parallel conductors one meter long, installed at a minimum distance from one another (at least 50 cm) to reduce the mutual inductance between the two conductors.

Where possible, connection to the bonding network should be at an intersection to divide the HF currents by four without lengthening the connection. The profile of the bonding conductors is not important, but a flat profile is preferable. The conductor should also be as short as possible.

Parallel earthing conductor (PEC)

The purpose of a parallel earthing conductor is to reduce the common-mode current flowing in the conductors that also carry the differential-mode signal (the common-mode impedance and the surface area of the loop are reduced).

The parallel earthing conductor must be designed to handle high currents when it is used for protection against lightning or for the return of high fault currents. When cable shielding is used as a parallel earthing conductor, it cannot handle such high currents and the solution is to run the cable along metal structural elements or cableways which then act as other parallel earthing conductors for the entire cable.

Another possibility is to run the shielded cable next to a large parallel earthing conductor with both the shielded cable and the parallel earthing conductor connected at each end to the local earthing terminal of the equipment or the device.

For very long distances, additional connections to the network are advised for the parallel earthing conductor, at irregular distances between the devices. These additional connections form a shorter return path for the disturbing currents flowing through the parallel earthing conductor. For U-shaped trays, shielding and tubes, the additional connections should be external to maintain the separation with the interior (“screening” effect).

Bonding conductors

Bonding conductors may be metal strips, flat braids or round conductors. For high-frequency systems, metal strips and flat braids are preferable (skin effect) because a round conductor has a higher impedance than a flat conductor with the same cross section. Where possible, the length to width ratio should not exceed 5.