Finding cost efficient earthing system design with acceptable level of safety might be quite tedious work. Thus, many earthing system engineers try to find the most suitable design either by employing only their best experience or taking advantage of some more complex optimisation programs. Although both approaches might work well under certain circumstances, they might fail either due to counter-intuitiveness of the specific situation or by misunderstanding of the applied optimisation method, its limitations etc. Thus, in this paper, the earthing system design optimisation problem was addressed by analysing optimisation simulation results together with conducted sensitivity analysis. In the paper, a simple double ring earthing system was optimised while using five different optimisation methods. The earthing system was placed in different horizontally stratified soil models and the earthing system was optimised by minimising touch voltages instead of commonly minimised earth potential rise. The earthing system was modelled by Ansys Maxwell software. Apart from using Ansys Maxwell built-in optimisers, the possible solution space has also been mapped by performing sensitivity analysis with changing the earthing system design dimensions and the results of optimisation were compared and validated. It was found out that the Sequential Non-Linear Programming Optimisation technique was quite superior to the other techniques. Additionally, in most cases, the Ansys Maxwell optimiser was able to found optimal solution; however, in some cases, based on the initial conditions, it might get stuck in local minima or the results might be influenced by the solution noise. Additionally, some quite non intuitive dependencies of earthing system electrodes positions had been found when different spatial dimensions constraints are used.
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