Difference Between Earthing And Neutral

Dhristi JEE 2022-24

An Introduction to Earthing

The neutral point of any electric supply you have is closely related to the earth; this is the reason that the neutral point and the earth point are closely related too. But remember, that they are closely related but are not the same. Since they are closely related, students often get confused and think they are the same. 


Talking about earthing point and neutral point, they have closely related anchors and in almost all the wiring systems, you are going to find these points. They both are an essential part of the wiring of an appliance and are used for safety purposes so that the user remains protected from the electric current. We know that there are frequent fluctuations that occur in electricity or equipment and if you have these points in the appliance, there is less chance for your appliance getting any kind of damage.


To understand what is earthing and neutral point, we will look at a three-pin electrical socket that we use in our everyday life. The current that is supplied for a household is carried by a three-phase circuit. That is the reason every socket used for any electrical equipment is preferred to be three-pin. The three pins correspond to earth, neutral, and phase. The phase line is the one that carries current, the neutral line provides the return path to balance the flow of current, and finally earthing is purely used for safety purposes.


Below in this article, you are going to get information about the earthing and neutral separately and then we are going to get the information about their differences in brief. For all those who are looking for an article that can explain to you the topic of earthing and an article in brief within a short time and in an effective way, then this article, provided to you by Vedantu, is going to help you. Use this article to revise your topic in a short period of time.


What is an Earthing?

Earthing, from a physics point of view, is the process of immediate transfer of electric energy into the earth. This process of earthing is always done with the help of a low resistance wire so that minimum resistance is provided to you while you are transferring the charge to earth.


Basically earthing is a precautionary connection that is made in many high-voltage devices and those devices that are costly as well as fluctuations on which can easily damage the device, such as that of air conditioners. We are provided with this earthing connection so that due to excess fluctuations in the devices, they may not get damaged. 


If we talk about the main function of earthing, it is to protect humans from getting any kind of electric shock. Any electric equipment, when it comes into contact with a metal surface, a current is induced in it which results in electric shock. So in order to protect you from getting shocked while using them, earthing is done. Besides this, earthing provides you with a low resistance path, so that the extra current directly travels down to the ground.


Neutral

The neutral wire is used for providing a return path for the flow of current in an AC circuit. The neutral wire carries no current, yet without neutral wire the AC circuit is incomplete. In any electrical circuit, the neutral wire will redirect the path of the electrical current to its source point. 


Basically, this neutral wire or neutral point in a three-phase circuit is where the sum of current will be zero and this neutral point is most commonly known as the zero potential point. In an AC circuit, the earth and the neutral point must be at the same potential, ideally, the potential difference between the two will be zero.

The major resemblance that you can see between both neutral connections and earthing connections is that both of them are used for safety purposes.


Earthing and Neutral - Their Differences

Earth

Neutral

It is the low resistance path used to prevent damage caused by the leakage current.

It is a conducting wire used in an AC circuit that provides a returning path for the flow of electrical current.

It doesn’t carry any current. It will be having minor electricity during any electrical disconnections.

It always carries current.

It provides a grounding point for the flow of electricity.

It provides a returning point to the flow of electricity.

The earthing connection can be executed independently or it may be connected through a neutral line.

It has to be connected through a neutral line.


These are the major earthing and neutral differences. The difference between ground earth and neutral provides a brief idea of  AC circuit connections.


Importance of Earthing

  • The discovery of electricity has made life easy and convenient. As every discovery has its own pros and cons, the cons of electricity were electrical shocks that may lead to death. 

  • To prevent the electrical shock the earthing concept was introduced. 

  • The Earth wire is a conductor embedded in the ground and electrically in contact with it. Earthing prevents wastage of electricity and electrical shocks.

  • There can be electricity overload in the circuit and if you have this neutral and earthing connection, then you will be protected from the electric shock or overloading of electricity in the appliances.


Importance of Neutral

  • A neutral wire is half of the electrical circuit. It completes the AC circuit.

  • A neutral wire is required to return the electric current to its source point, a circuit without a neutral wire will not conduct.

  • A neutral wire can directly carry the circuit to the original powerhouse. More preferably, if we say then this brings the circuit back to ground connected at the electric panel.

FAQs on Difference Between Earthing And Neutral

1. Is Earthing Used as a Neutral?

This question is the most frequently asked, and the answer is yes we can use earthing as neutral but we cannot do the vice versa because, in actuality, there is a difference in both earthing and neutral. We cannot regard both as the same as there are many differences and the most prominent one is that earthing is has current, although in minor amounts but still it carries current. While when we say about the neutral point, it doesn't carry any current and thus, is completely neutral.

2. What are the Important Earth and Neutral Differences?

Both earthing and neutral are maintained at zero potential but still, we cannot say it is the same because there are major differences between the two. Earthing provides you with a minor current while there is hardly any current in neutral. Neutral has no current at all. The major difference between the two is that earthing provides you with a grounding point, that idle the current moves into the earth while the neutral provides you with a returning point for the flow of electricity, that is the electricity wire just returns back.

3.  Is there any similarity between neutral and earthing?

Just like neutral, earthing also has zero voltage, but when we look at the roles both are a lot different. They are just maintained at zero voltage but in terms of carrying current, neutral carries no current while a little amount of current is carried by the earthing. Under normal conditions, in neutral wire, all the current returns back through it while for earthing, it provides you with a grounding effect, that is, all the current is grounded back to earth.

4. What will happen if both neutral and earth touch each other?

Neutral reference to ground is only and only at one point and by chance, both neutral and earth wire get connected to each other, the aforementioned earth loop will be created. Because now the grounding system and neutral conductors are connected in parallel. This results in them carrying a current of equal magnitude. So to connect both earth and neutral will not be beneficial for you in any way.

5. Why is it necessary to earthen neutral?

The neutral provides you with the path, helping them to move from the phase through any electrical equipment. The reason why all the neutral lines are grounded is that there should be the same electric potential in the system and earthing. The neutral helps you in that. This ensures the quality as well as security of the power distribution in the system. Although earthing and neutral are not the same, earthen neutral is necessary for the system.

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