Fall of potential measurement of the earth resistance in urban environments: Accuracy evaluation

Gaetano Zizzo, Maria Luisa Di Silvestre, Eleonora Riva Sanseverino, Enrico Pons, Pietro Colella, Riccardo Tommasini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Both Standards EN 50522 and IEEE 81 propose the fall of potential method (FPM) to carry out the measurement of the resistance to earth (RES) of an earthing system (ES). However, in urban areas, the recommended distances between the ES and auxiliary electrodes are not easy to respect, due to the presence of buildings and tarmac. Furthermore, unknown buried metallic parts and interconnections among ESs could modify the earth potential profile of the area, affecting the measurement results. In this paper, the key-issues that influence the measured RES when the FPM is used in an urban environment are presented. A parametric analysis, carried out with Comsol Multiphysics, quantifies the errors due to wrong positioning of the auxiliary electrodes and due to the presence of interconnected ESs in the proximity of the ES under test. In addition, a real case of field measurement is described, emphasizing the main aspects that could compromise the results. Finally, practical suggestions to reduce errors are provided.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2337-2346
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Industry Applications
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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