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Cathodic Protection

Cathodic Protection

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Published by: mohit18d on Jun 08, 2010
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12/17/2012

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CORROSIONANDIT’S CONTROL BYCATHODIC PROTECTION SYSTEM
 
CORROSION AND IT’S CONTROL BY CATHODIC PROTECTION SYSTEM
2
1.0.0 WHAT IS CORROSION?
One general definition of corrosion is the degradation of a material through environ-mentalinteraction. This definition encompasses all materials, both naturally occurring and man-made and includes plastics, ceramics, and metals.Asignificant amount of energy is put into a metal when it is extracted from its ores, placing itin a high-energy state. These ores are typically oxides of the metal such as hematite (Fe
2
O
3
)forsteel or bauxite (Al
2
O
3
.H
2
O) for aluminum. One principle of thermodynamics is that amaterial always seeks the lowest energy state. In other words, most metals arethermodynamically unstable and will tend to seek a lower energy state, which is an oxide orsome other compound. The process by which metals convert to the lower-energy oxides iscalled corrosion.Corrosion of most common engineering materials at near-ambient temperatures occurs inaqueous (water-containing) environments and is electrochemical in nature. The aqueousenvironment is also referred to as the electrolyte and, in the case of under-ground corrosion, ismoist soil. The corrosion process involves the removal of electrons (oxidation) of the metal[Equation (1)] and the consumption of those electrons by some other reduction reaction, suchas oxygen or water reduction [Equations (2) and (3), respectively:Fe
Fe
++
+2e
-
Equation 1O
2
+2H
2
O+4e
-
4OH-
 
Equation 22H
2
O+2e-
H2 + 2OH- Equation 3The oxidation reaction is commonly called the anodic reaction and the reduction reaction iscalled the cathodic reaction. Both electrochemical reactions are necessary for corrosion tooccur. The oxidation reaction causes the actual metal loss but the reduction reaction must bepresent to consume the electrons liberated by the oxidation reaction, maintaining chargeneutrality.Otherwise, a large negative charge would rapidly develop between the metal and theelectrolyte and the corrosion process would cease.The oxidation and reduction reactions are sometimes referred to as half-cell reactions and canoccur locally (at the same site on the metal) or can be physically separated. When theelectrochemical reactions are physically separated, the process is referred to as a differential
 
CORROSION AND IT’S CONTROL BY CATHODIC PROTECTION SYSTEM
3
corrosion cell. A schematic of a differential corrosion cell is given in Figure 1.1. The site wherethe metal is being oxidized is referred to as the anode or anodic site. At this site, direct electriccurrent (defined as a positive flow of charge) flows from the metal surface into the electrolyteas the metal ions leave the surface. This current flows in the electrolyte to the site whereoxygen, water, or some other species is being reduced. This site is referred to as the cathode orcathodic site. There are four necessary components of a differential corrosion cell.1. There must be an anode2. There must be a cathodeFigure 1.1 Schematic showing a differential corrosion cell.3. There must be a metallic path electrically connecting the anode and cathode.(Normally, this will be the Tank / Buried Pipeline / Buried Bullet bottom plate itself.)4. The anode and cathode must be immersed in an electrically conductive electrolyte(normally, moist soil).Corrosion of A/G Storage Tank / Buried Pipeline / Buried Bullet is often the result ofdifferential corrosion cells of which a variety of different types exist. These includedifferential aeration cells, where different parts of a Tank / Buried Pipeline / Buried Bulletbottom plate are exposed to different oxygen concentrations in the soil, and cells created bydifferences in the nature of the Tank / Buried Pipeline / Buried Bullet bottom surface or thesoil chemistry. Galvanic corrosion is a form of differential cell corrosion in which twodifferent metals are electrically coupled and exposed in a corrosive environment.

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