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Subject: Protecting Critical Systems: The Role of the Engineer From: "Power Quality News Beat" <Power_Quality_News_Beat@newsletters.primediabusiness.

com> Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2003 16:22:23 -0500

Ask The Expert Get Answers to Your PQ Questions Here's your chance to get answers to help you solve your perplexing, and possibly costly, power quality problems. Just e-mail your question to . We'll pose it to Mark McGranaghan and others at EPRI-PEAC, Mike Lowenstein, Harmonics Limited, and John DeDad, Editorial Director, and publish the answer here. Question: We have a signal reference grid beneath the raised floor of our IT equipment room. I realize that this grounding system has an impedance at 60 Hz that is low enough to equalize any potential differences. This keeps all metallic enclosures, raceways, and any other grounded metal at the same ground potential. But, what about higher frequencies? If I remember my basic electrical theory correctly, I may not be able to get this equalization because of the increased impedance associated with these frequencies? DeDad's answer: Your memory of basic electrical theory is correct, but your signal reference grid (SRG) will be able to handle higher frequencies if it's installed correctly and you're using the right type of bonding straps and conductors. Basically, the impedance of a conductor has three components: resistance, capacitive reactance, and inductive reactance. Although the inductance (L), in Henrys, will be constant for a given length and cross sectional-area of a conductor, the inductive reactance (XL) will vary with the frequency (f) of the applied voltage as per the equation XL = 2fL. So, at 60 Hz, XL = 2 x 3.14 x 60L, or 377L. At 30MHz, XL =2 x 3.14 x (30 x 106L), or 188.5 x 106L, or 188,500,000L. By dividing the value of inductive reactance at 30 MHz by that at 60 Hz, you'll find that the "equivalent" resistive value of a given conductor at 30 MHz is about 500,000 times greater than that at 60 Hz. In addition to increased inductive reactance at higher frequencies, there are stray capacitance and inductance between adjacent conductors or between conductors and adjacent grounded metal. There are also some resonance effects. All of the above will also contribute to an increase of apparent conductor impedance. If you connect the conductors in a mesh or grid to form a lot of low-impedance loops in parallel, you should see little voltage difference between any two points in the grid at frequencies from 60 Hz up to a frequency where the length of one side of the grid or mesh square represents about 1/10 wavelength. For example, a grid made up of 2-ft squares will provide, at any point, an effective equipotential ground reference point for signals more than 30 MHz. A note of caution: Make sure you're using the shortest possible lead length for bonding jumpers to connect your IT equipment frames to the SRG. Also, make sure you're using braided bonding straps for these connections and 7-strand No. 6 bare copper bonding jumpers to tie underfloor metal components to steel building columns. Finally, verify that

every sixth metallic raised floor pedestal is bonded to your SRG.