90 Of All Animals Showed Up At The Same Time Trial Showing the Effect of Rust on an Electric Fence Post

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Trial Showing the Effect of Rust on an Electric Fence Post

Effective electric fencing is highly dependent on an effective electrical circuit that includes a section that runs from the animal through the ground to the ground pole and thus back to the power. This then completes the circuit and results in the hit being the effective part of the fence – convincing the target not to mess with this fence.

Obviously there are factors that hinder this power transfer, poor foot contact with the ground, the horse wearing a blanket among others, but the main thing that has been seen is the ground peg component. Many installers simply use a length of mild steel lying around, drive it into the ground, and connect it to the circuit. Initially this is fine, but steel is affected by chemicals in the soil and over time will form a layer of rust between it and the soil. Rust is a natural phenomenon when certain metals are exposed to oxygen and water for a long time. The actual chemical composition of rust is 4Fe + 3O2 = 2Fe2O3.

This rust is a poor conductor of electricity, so as rust forms, the ability to transmit electricity decreases. This rust formation is dictated by the availability of water and air, plus it can be accelerated by other factors such as heat (a steel rod will rust faster in warm soil) and the presence of an electric current. If you have two different metals (metal rods and other metals commonly present throughout the earth) in an electrical environment, then effectively a battery is created. This environment allows for the rapid transfer of electrons, thus the rapid formation of rust on the surface of the metal rod you hope to use for your Electric Fence.

An experiment has been completed to test the effect of a mild steel rod on an electric fence. Two parameters are used:-

1. An energizer connected to earth, but switched on only to take a reading, effectively a test of the natural rusting of a metal rod.

2. An energizer connected to earth and constantly on. This would be the other end of the scale with power flowing continuously in the circuit.

The electrical energy transfer was measured at regular intervals over 40 months and the resistance between the ground and the ground pole was measured. DC mail lost 46% of carrying capacity during that period while control lost 17% during the same period

From this it is easy to see the effect of electricity on a simple mild steel rod used as an electrical ground. It is important that a galvanized steel, stainless steel or copper material is used for grounding an electric fence.

Ground makes up 50% of the electrical circuit, but 90% of all problems stem from poor grounding, either at the ground pole or the fence. Fortunately this is easy to correct. Additional electric fence posts can be added by driving them into the ground about 2m from the existing post and tying them together. Copper, stainless steel or galvanized steel rods are best as mild steel will rust thus creating a poor conductive barrier. All rods should be in permanently moist soil, under a building eaves, in a river bed, under a dripping faucet, or in a watered flower bed. In particularly dry weather, the soil around the stakes can be watered.

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