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IAS Tutorial on Grounding and Bonding Practices: Principles and Applications for Electrical Safety and Lightning Protection


Grounding and bonding are one of the most important requirements for electrical and electronic system design, yet it is probably the least understood by many engineers. Often blended with misconceptions, in the final implementation it is typically necessary to strike a balance between electrical safety, electromagnetic interference (EMI) control, and good engineering practices. Achieving a functional grounding and bonding philosophy often requires the resolution of conflicts between instinct, intuition, standard specifications, engineering experience and judgment.

Tutorial Objectives

This tutorial aims to demystify grounding and bonding practices by explaining the fundamental principles and applications through some real-life examples, many of which are drawn from the instructor’s own consulting work.


Establishing Context (Time 0:00 – hours:minutes)

I. Fundamental Concepts

  • Grounding-related myths, misconceptions, and misapprehensions
  • Objectives of grounding

II. Grounding and Bonding for Electrical Safety

  • Objectives of power system grounding
  • HV power system grounding
  • Grounding schemes for low-voltage power distribution system
  • Equipment grounding
  • IT or ungrounded system for mission-critical equipment
  • Protection against electric shock
  • Bonding principles and applications

10-minute break

III. Grounding and Bonding for Lightning Protection

  • Overview of lightning protection system
  • Ground termination network
  • Hazards of step and touch potential, transferred potential
  • Integrated grounding system
  • Equipotential bonding
  • Influence of LV grounding schemes on lightning overvoltages
  • Bonding of electrical and lightning grounds?

10-minute break

IV. Common Pitfalls in Grounding and Bonding Practices

V. Questions & Wrap-up

End at time 3:00 hours 

Learning outcomes

After completion of the tutorials, participants will gain a good understanding of:

  • the reasons for grounding and bonding
  • application of grounding in power system
  • requirements for equipment safety grounding
  • grounding and bonding requirements for lightning protection

About the Instructor

Dr Kai Sang Lock

Professor (Engineering), Singapore Institute of Technology, Life Senior Member, IEEE, Co-author of “Grounds for Grounding: A Circuit to System Handbook”, 2nd Edition, published by IEEE/John Wiley

Dr Lock is a Professor (Engineering) and Head of the Energy Efficiency Technology Centre at the Singapore Institute of Technology. He has a unique blend of practicing and academic experience acquired through a career which is equally split between the industry and the academia. He is a specialist consulting engineer in the areas of power quality, EMC, motor drives, mission-critical electrical design, and electrical safety. He has conducted several investigations on electrical incidents.

He received his B.Sc. (1st Class Honours) in Electrical and Electronics Engineering in 1975 from the University of Strathclyde, UK. He completed his Ph.D. degree at the same university in 1979. He joined the National University of Singapore as a lecturer in 1980 and was the Head of its Power and Machines Division, Department of Electrical Engineering, when he left in 1997 to set up his consulting practice. He returned to the academia in 2016 as a Professor at Singapore Institute of Technology. He is an Emeritus President and Honorary Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Singapore. He has served as a Board Member of the Professional Engineers Board, Singapore for 14 years. He is well-versed with standards and codes of practice and was the Chairman of Singapore Standards Council for 6 years, actively contributing to the promotion and establishment of Standards and Codes of Practice in Singapore. He plays an active role in energy efficiency, being the Chairman of Accreditation Committee for Energy Service Companies (ESCOs) and the Co-Chair of Steering Committee of Singapore Certified Energy Managers (SCEM) Scheme. He was conferred the Outstanding Power Engineer Award by the IEEE Power Engineering Chapter in 1998. He is a Fellow of Academy of Engineering, Singapore, Senior Fellow of ASEAN Academy of Engineering and Technology and Honorary Fellow of ASEAN Federation of Engineering Organizations.