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Year_In_ReviewIs it just us, or has 2018 felt longer than 365 days? For instance, it may come as a surprise that less than 11 months ago the 2018 Winter Olympics were held in South Korea.

During this long year, the nVent ERICO team of engineering and product experts has published dozens of posts focusing on electrical safety, grounding, bonding and more. Before surging ahead into 2019, see which six posts were viewed the most this year.

Looking for another recap post? Check out top electrical engineering posts from 2017.

1. The Benefits of Copper-Bonded Ground Rods

As the final piece needed to ground an electrical current, ground rods are imperative for grounding system performance. In most applications, the nVent ERICO team recommends copper-bonded ground rods because they:

  1. Have a strong core, increasing the likelihood of a long, dependable service life.
  2. Are less susceptible to corrosion than other materials in most environments.
  3. Increase cost efficiency over the service life of the rod. 

See the full post to learn more about these three key reasons engineers should choose copper-bonded ground rods over other materials.

2. How Does Lightning (and a Lightning Protection System) Work?

Across the U.S., lightning strikes an average of 25 million times per year and occurs at a rate of 100 flashes per second worldwide. And while the location of each strike is unpredictable, facilities can be better protected against this devastating phenomenon with a lightning protection system. 

Many different national and international standards cover the manufacturing and installation of lightning protection systems, but there are two consistent aspects that determine the performance of the lightning interception: Physical hardware and hardware positioning. 

Read The Science of a Lightning Strike and How to Safeguard Your Facility with a Lightning Protection System for more information.

3. What’s What: Grounding, Bonding and Earthing

These three electrical terms have confused people for years. As integral parts of modern electrical protection systems, understanding the differences is important. 

  • Ground: A conducting connection, whether intentional or accidental, between an electrical circuit or equipment and the earth, or to some conducting body that serves in place of the earth.
  • Earth: The conductive mass of the earth, whose electric potential at any point is conventionally taken as equal to zero. In some countries the term “ground” is used instead of “earth.”
  • Bond: The permanent joining of metallic parts to form an electrically conductive path that will ensure electrical continuity and the capacity to conduct any current likely to be imposed. 

Find out the benefits of grounding, the relevant codes and standards and the principles of grounding by viewing What’s What: Grounding, Bonding and Earthing.

4. What Is the Difference Between Copper-Clad and Copper-Bonded Steel? 

A common misconception is that copper-clad and copper-bonded steel are the same. In actuality, the only significant similarity is that both consist of a steel core and copper exterior. In copper-bonded steel, the bond is made permanent at the molecular level between the two materials. Copper-clad, however, is pressure heated to connect the two metals. 

In practice, copper-bonded steel is used in manufacturing ground rods, solid wire and solid conductors. Copper-clad steel, because the bond is not nearly as strong, is not used for grounding rods today. 

For a more detailed explanation of the differences, see What Is the Difference Between Copper-Clad and Copper-Bonded Steel?

5. The Risks of Lightning: For Beginners

Dating back to the 1700s, Benjamin Franklin was one of the first to study and document the dangers and effects of lightning. Though we still cannot predict where lightning will strike next, the knowledge gained about lightning risks and basic lightning protection systems has grown drastically over time. 

Step potential, touch potential and side flashing are all lightning-related risks. And to help safeguard facilities, personnel and electronic devices from all of those risks, a lightning protection system must do the following:

  • Intercept lightning flashes
  • Conduct the lightning current to the earth
  • Dissipate the current to the earth
  • Create an equipotential bond to prevent potential differences between the system, structure and internal circuits

Delve deeper into this topic by reading the beginner’s guide to lightning risks and protection methods.

6. What is Facility Electrical Protection?

Facility electrical protection is the nVent ERICO engineered systems approach to protecting property from lightning damage and other electrical transient events. By providing innovative, interconnected lightning, grounding and bonding and surge protection systems, facilities can become better equipped to handle dangerous and costly electrical events.

Read the full post on facility electrical protection to discover how each of these systems works individually and with the other systems to increase safety and reliability for facilities.

Stay Current in 2019

After an eventful 2018 for the nVent ERICO team, 2019 will be packed with even more electrical engineering information, advice and news. Subscribe to our blog to stay up-to-date on every post.  

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