Development of a Numerical Algorithm for Automatically Calculating the Equivalent Multilayer Soil Electrical Resistivity Model

Location: Sydney, NSW

Duration: 5 months

Project Background

Earthing system performance modelling and analysis is an important engineering field and one which has been receiving increasing focus and attention and is mandated by international standards, regulations and guidelines. The intricacies of the modelling have been presented throughout papers and textbooks dating back to the early 20th century which have evolved into numerous commercially available computer modelling programs. A brief history of the development of these models will ensue.

Generally, the modelling problem is too complicated to explain using analytical expressions, however before the advent of widespread computer usage, early equations came from purely mathematical approaches and experimental investigations into the electrical behaviour of simple buried single horizontal and vertical rods. Namely Schwarz developed a set of equations to determine the overall resistance (derived as a combination of series and mutual impedances) of an earthing system consisting of horizontal and vertical conductors. These are still included in the preeminent standard on the topic of earthing which is IEEE Std. 80. The problems with these analytical expressions include that they are not suitable for complicated geometries and only applicable for homogeneous soil resistivity.

Electrotechnik has developed a commercial earthing design software package called SafeGrid which models electrical performance of earthing systems.  

Electrotechnik develops commercial desktop and web-based applications for performing electrical power engineering calculations in accordance with Standards, electrical principles and industry best practices for a world-wide market.

Their software products for performing power system calculations and designs require continual updates and improvements to make them world-leading and meet the demands and the expectations of customers. A PhD with expertise in electrical power or electromagnetics and strength in mathematics will help Electrotechnik to achieve this.

Once the project objectives are met then the modules developed from the results produced will be incorporated into their commercial software and issued to customers for use in industry.

Research to be Conducted

The aim of the research is to develop a numerical software algorithm. The results obtained from this algorithm shall agree with published results and study data available.

Research project will cover:

  1. Researching the numerical methods outlined in technical publications on how to solve and perform the electromagnetic calculations.
  2. Build a software model for performing the calculations in Matlab or equivalent.
  3. Conduct validation tests of the results.

Resources required:

  1. Technical guidance and mentorship – currently available.
  2. Access to Standards and technical publications – mostly available.
  3. Access to programming software for modelling – currently available. Note Electrotechnik may have a preference for a programming language in which the software models are built.

Skills Required

If you’re a PhD student and meet some or all the below we want to hear from you. We strongly encourage women, indigenous and disadvantaged candidates to apply:

  • Software modelling ability using Matlab or another programming language
  • Strong mathematics ability
  • Knowledge of electromagnetics
  • Knowledge of electrical

Expected Outcomes

Software module for automatically calculating multilayer soil resistivity layer structure from Wenner and Schlumberger test field measurements.

  • Extensive literature review.
  • Software design model and specifications.
  • Software source code – well-structured and commented.
  • Testing and validation report.

Additional Details

The intern will receive $3,000 per month of the internship, usually in the form of stipend payments.

It is expected that the intern will primarily undertake this research project during regular business hours, spending at least 80% of their time on-site with the industry partner.  The intern will be expected to maintain contact with their academic mentor throughout the internship either through face-to-face or phone meetings as appropriate.

The intern and their academic mentor will have the opportunity to negotiate the project’s scope, milestones and timeline during the project planning stage.

Applications Close

29 January 2020


APR – 1208