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Cathodic Protection System Design

Cathodic Protection System Design

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Published by: Rafael Furquim on Apr 27, 2011
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Cathodic Protection System Design

a topic summary by

Delano P Wegener, Ph.D. DEFINITIONS
Cathodic Protection: Reduction of corrosion rate by shifting the corrosion potential of the electrode toward a less oxidizing potential by applying an external electromotive force. Galvanic Anode: A metal which, because of its relative position in the galvanic series, provides sacrificial protection to metals that are more noble in the series, when coupled in an electrolyte. Galvanic Cathodic Protection System: A cathodic protection system in which the external electromotive force is supplied by a galvanic anode. Impressed Current Cathodic Protection System: A cathodic protection system in which the external electromotive force is provided by an external DC power source. Groundbed: One or more anodes installed below the earth's surface for the purpose of supplying cathodic protection. Rectifier: A device which converts alternating current to direct current. Conventional Groundbed: A group of anodes installed remote (300 feet or more) from the structure and spaced on 15 to 30 foot centers. Distributed Anode Groundbed: A group of anodes installed close (5 to 20 feet) to and along a structure to be protected and spaced on 25 to 500 foot centers. Deep Anode Groundbed: One or more anodes installed vertically at a nominal depth of 50 feet or more below the earth's surface in a drilled hole. Shallow Vertical Groundbed: One or more anodes installed vertically at a nominal depth of 50 feet or less below the earth's surface.

Regardless of the type of cathodic protection system to be installed, two simple field tests should be conducted prior to beginning the system design.

Soil Resistivity:
Soil resistivity should be determined for the specific area where the groundbed is to be installed. Even small differences in location can cause large differences in soil resistivity. Soil resitivitiy may be determined using any one of: • • • Soil box procedure Wenner (4-pin) procedure Single rod test procedure

Current Requirement:
Whenever possible, a trial and error process using a temporary groundbed and a

mesaproducts. • Low maintenance requirement.000 ohm-cm and 5. Galvanic anode installations tend to be used mostly on underground structures in applications where cathodic protection current requirements are small and where earth resistances are acceptably low. • Easy field installation.000 ohm-cm. If the above process is not feasible. Use typical current densities for your area. . • Less likely to cause stray current interference problems on other structures.com/ GALVANIC CATHODIC PROTECTION SYSTEM Galvanic anodes are most efficiently used on electrically isolated coated structures. Some proprietary aluminum alloy anodes work well in a sea water environment. Favorable environments are sea water and salt marshes. • When the current requirement is small. • Increase the current and repeat the survey. or more general current densities as found in the technical section of http://www. Zinc anodes are also available in many shapes and sizes. The current output of a galvanic anode installation is typically much less than that which is obtained from an impressed current cathodic protection system. bare or prepackaged with the most popular being the 17 lb. but long slender shapes should be employed in higher resistivity areas. Advantages: • Self-powered so no external power source is required. make an assumption about current density requirements and calculate current requirement for the area of the structure to be protected. As a general guideline. • Set up a temporary groundbed with ground rods and a temporary power supply. but long slender shapes should be employed in higher resistivity areas. a galvanic system is more economical than an impressed current system. • Repeat Steps 3 and 4 until the structure is protected according to established criteria. one may assume magnesium anodes to be acceptable where soil resistivities are between 1. Materials: Magnesium anodes are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. Short chunky shapes are suitable for low resistivity areas. Short chunky shapes are suitable for low resistivity areas. • Energize the system • Perform an on-off survey over the structure to be protected.portable power supply should be used to determine the current required to protect the structure. Aluminum anodes are not commonly used in earth burial applications. They are appropriate in soils with very low resistivities (750 ohm-cm to 1500 ohm-cm). prepackaged anode.

These are frequently called remote groundbeds because the structure is outside the anodic gradient of the groundbed caused by the discharge of current from the anodes to the surrounding soil. The following factors should be considered when choosing a groundbed location. Distributed Anode Groundbeds are used to reduce the potential for interference effects on neighboring structures.Disdvantages: • Low driving voltage. Design of an impressed current system must consider the potential for causing coating damage and the possibility of creating stray currents. • • • • • • • • Soil Resistivity Soil Moisture Interference with other Structures Availability of Power Supply Accessibility Vandalism or other Damage Purpose of the Goundbed Availability of Right of Way Conventional Groundbeds are normally used to distribute protective current over a broad area of the structure to be protected. • Low maintenance requirement. Advantages: • • • • • Flexibility Applicable to a variety of applications Current output may be controlled Not constrained by low driving voltage Effective in high resistivity soils Disadvantages: • • • Increased maintenance Higher operating costs May cause interference on other structures Groundbeds: Groundbed Location should be determined early in the design process because its location may affect the choice of groundbed type. • Limited to use in low resistivity soils. • Not an economical source of large amounts of CP current. IMPRESSED CURRENT CATHODIC PROTECTION SYSTEM An impressed current system is used to protect large bare and coated structures and structures in high resistivity electrolytes. • Very Little capacity to control stray current effects on the protected structure. They are used to protect sections of bare or poorly . which adversely affect other structures.

the pipe doesn't care about the power source. Specially formulated high silicon cast iron anodes are also used in seawater. Power Supplies: Rectifiers are the most common power source for cathodic protection systems. Deep anode groundbeds therefore achieve results similar to remote surface groundbeds.952variations. They are used in congested areas where electrical shielding might occur with other groundbeds. or turbine powered) are used in special circumstances. most commonly in the following areas: • • • • • • • • • Enclosure Type Cooling Type Control Type Rectifying Element Circuit Type AC Input DC Volts DC Amperes Options If a manufacturer were to offer each of the options listed in one reference. wind. shallow vertical.coated structure. Graphite anodes are one of the most commonly used anodes for impressed current systems. Deep Anode Groundbeds are remote to the structure by virtue of the vertical distance between anode and structure. Each of several manufacturers offer a dizzying array of options. assuming the choices are independent.957. Most common applications are to protect underground structures. and discoloration of surrounding structures are distinct disadvantages. A deep anode groundbed is an appealing choice when space is not available for a conventional groundbed or when surface soil has high resistivity and deeper strata exhibit low resistivities. Voltages in excess of 10 Volts will result in severe pitting of the titanium core causing premature failure. or horizontal ground beds with carbonaceous backfill. Graphite anodes are suitable for deep. High Silicon Cast Iron anodes are widely used in underground applications in both shallow and deep groundbeds. Generators (engine. Anodes: Scrap iron is sometimes used as an anode simply because it is available. Shallow Vertical Groundbeds are commonly used where space is limited. Great inefficiencies may result if the entire CP system is not designed with the power supply in mind. . high rate of consumption. Any reliable external source of DC current will suffice . Solar Cells can provide an dependable power supply in certain parts of the world. Although the performance is improved with coke breeze. Non-uniform consumption. Platinized Titanium anodes take advantage of the low consumption rate and high current density. its use is not critical. then that manufacturer would be offering 8.

These three characteristics cause metallurgical coke to have a relatively high resistivity. and high in ash and volatiles content. particle size should be small relative to the anode diameter. the coating has an extremely low consumption rate. Thus these anodes are used where high driving voltage is required. the tubular dimensions remain nearly constant during the design life of the anode . • Particle Sizing determines the amount of contact between anode and backfill. Carbon Backfill: The carbon backfill serves as a sacrificial buffer between the anode and the reaction environment. petroleum coke is non conductive and is therefore not suitable for backfill. electrically-conductive coating that activates the titanium and enables it to function as an anode. Petroleum Coke must be calcined (heat treated). For optimum contact. Mixed Metal Oxide anodes consist of a high purity titanium substrate with an applied coating consisting of a mixture of oxides. measured in terms of milligrams per year. When applied on titanium. The titanium serves as a support for the oxide coating. irregularly shaped particles. • Specific Gravity affects compact settling.5 microns) particles should be avoided because they are high in ash content. but avoid the low driving voltage restriction of platinized titanium anodes. . The primary objective of the carbon backfill is to electronically conduct the current discharged from the anode surface to the carbon-earth interface where the electrochemical reaction can occur with least impact on the anode. A spherical shape is preferred over flat. Serve as the primary anodic reaction surface. The mixed metal oxide is a crystalline.Platinized Niobium/Tantalum anodes also take advantage of the properties of platinum. Carbon backfill is used to accomplish three major goals: • • • Maintain stability of the excavation (hole). Very small (less than 7.providing a consistently low resistance anode. A high specific gravity helps to insure compact settling. • Carbon Content of the backfill material determines the anode system life. porous and therefore low in specific gravity. Metallurgical coke is not suitable for deep anode groundbed installations. Breakdown of the niobium oxide film occurs at approximately 120 Volts. or more significantly in-situ bulk resistivity determines how well the objective of the carbon backfill is achieved. Magnetite anodes are quite expensive but have an extremely long life. Backfill Selection should be based on a consideration of the following coke characteristics: • Resistivity. Metallurgical Coke is low in carbon content. They are therefore an economical choice for some applications. • Particle Shape affects how well the backfill settles and the tendency for the backfill to trap gases. Prior to calcination. As a result of this low consumption rate. Lower resistance-to-earth of the system.

com Training Opportunities: http://www. Appalachian Underground Corrosion Short Course. A.W. Houston.H. "Deep Anode Groundbed Design and Installation Guidelines". TX: NACE International. 2000 (available at http://www.htm . Hattiesburg. It also covers the economic considerations of including corrosion control in system design and the financial principles used in evaluating alternative materials and designs. 1997 Morgan. OH: ELTECH Systems.HARDCOPY RESOURCES AUCSC. Installation and Operation. 1967 Lewis. TX: NACE International. Appalachian Underground Corrosion Short Course. 1987 Schrieber. WV. It offers an overview of the steps involved in materials selection common to many industries. C.com) (I am trying to get permission to reprint the article) WWW RESOURCES NACE Glossary of Corrosion Terms: http://www. MS: Loresco International.. Basic Course. Appalachian Underground Corrosion Short Course.com Glossaries: http://www. 1993 Peabody.com/training.com/a. 1986 AUCSC.lidaproducts. Morgantown.com/ Deep Anode Groundbed Design: http://www. 1985 AUCSC.hghouston. Houston. T. Inc.F. Deep Anode System . Designing for Corrosion Control Calculators: http://www.html Technical Information: http://www. WV. Cathodic Protection.PDF NACE Course: Designing for Corrosion Control: The Designing for Corrosion Control Course reviews the principles of corrosion and corrosion control and provides a systematic method for applying the technology of corrosion prevention to the design process. Intermediate Course. Morgantown..cpdesigncenter.nace. WV.Design.org/nace/content/pubsonline/free/GLOSSARY. Chardon.delweg. Advanced Course.. J..cpdesigncenter.. Morgantown.cpdesigncenter.

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