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CATHODIC PROTECTION

Corrosion is basically defined as the deterioration of materials by chemical processes.


Of these, the most important is the electrochemical corrosion of metals, in which the
oxidation process M M+ + e- is enabled by the presence of a suitable electron
acceptor which is termed as a depolarizer.( DEPOLARIZATION)
The corrosion can be understood as the spontaneous return of the metals to their ores,
i.e. the huge amount of energy which was consumed in mining, refining and
manufacturing them is dissipated in many different ways.
Both Cathodic and anodic steps are required for the corrosion to occur. Hence
prevention of any one will stop the process of corrosion.
The most common solution is to coat the material with paint or any other protective
coating. But at places where the coatings are broken, the process may get initiated.
Cathodic protection is an approach which is employed to control the corrosion that
occurs on the surface of the metal by making it the cathode of an electro-chemical cell.
This procedure is quite simple which involves the connection of the metal to be
protected, to a more easily corroded metal which is usually called the sacrificial metal
to act as the anode. This sacrificial metal then corrodes instead of the protected metal.
The first application of this procedure was made in 1824.Sacrificial anodes which were
made from iron, were attached to the copper sheath of the hull (main body of the ship)
below the waterline. This drastically reduced the corrosion rate of the copper. The side
effect of this Cathodic protection was to increase the marine growth. When copper
corrodes, it releases copper ions which have an anti-fouling effect. Anti-fouling
prevents the bio-fouling which is the undesirable growth of marine organisms on
immersed structures such as ship hulls, intake pipes etc. When the excess marine
growth started affecting the performance of the ship, the Royal Navy decided to allow
the copper to corrode and have the benefit of reduced marine growth. Hence the
Cathodic protection was not used further, until 1928 where this was applied again to
steel gas pipelines in US and was more widely used from 1930s.
Cathodic protection systems protect almost all kinds of metals in various environments.
The most widely used applications are Steel pipelines which contain water or fuel, steel
storage tanks, Steel pier piles, offshore oil platforms, onshore oil well casings and metal
reinforcement bars in concrete buildings and structures.
Another application which is also common is in galvanized steel, in which a sacrificial
coating of zinc on steel parts protects them from rust. The stress corrosion cracking can
also be prevented by Cathodic protection.
Types of Cathodic protection:
Galvanic anode:
In this type, a galvanic anode which is an electrochemically active metal, is attached to
the endangered metal surface where it is exposed to an electrolyte. Galvanic anodes are
chosen because they have a more active voltage, which means that they have more
negative electrode potential than the metal of the target structure (which is generally
steel). Galvanic anodes have limited life-spans during which the sacrificial anode will
continue to degrade and protect the tank or the piping. The galvanic anode keeps
corroding until the anode material is fully consumed and eventually it must be replaced.

Sacrificial anode
Impressed current systems:
When galvanic anodes are used for structures that are larger in size and have high
electrolyte resistivity, they cant drive enough current economically to provide
protection. In these cases, impressed current Cathodic protection (ICCP) systems are
used which have a much longer life span than the galvanic anodes. These systems
include a rectifier that converts the AC power source to a DC, which is properly
calibrated to provide the required protection. As the power source is delivered to the
electrode and is not generated by the degradation of the electrode, the power supply to
the electrode may be recalibrated to provide additional power, as and when needed.

Cathodic Protection with ICCP system

The application to concrete reinforcement is slightly different. The anodes and the
reference electrodes are usually embedded in the concrete at the time of the construction
when the concrete is being poured. The usual technique used here is the ICCP system.
Pipelines carrying Hazardous products are protected by a coating supplement with
Cathodic protection. ICCP systems are used here. It is sometimes more economical to
protect the Pipes of smaller diameter and limited length by the galvanic anodes
Cathode will take electrons so any object is safe from corrosion if it made to act like
cathode whereas anode means loses electrons so it corrodes. To prevent from corrosion
object to be protected should be made cathode or bombard the surface of corroding
metal with electrons.
An air cooled cathodic protection rectifier connected to a pipeline.

Cathodic protection is often executed by galvanic anodes attached to the hull of small
ships and for large vessels, ICCP systems are used.

The white patches visible on the ships hull are zinc block sacrificial anodes

Marine Cathodic protection covers jetties, harbors, offshore structures. Here structure
specific Cathodic protection systems are used depending on the structure geometry,
composition and architecture etc.
Cathodic protection is used on pipelines, vessels and tanks which carry liquids to
protect them from corrosion on their internal surfaces. Galvanic anodes and ICCP
systems are used here.
Galvanizing is a way of coating steel with a layer of metallic zinc or tin, which acts as
a sacrificial anode.
Cathodic protection prevents corrosion by converting all of the anodic (active) sites
on the metal surface to cathodic (passive) sites by supplying electrical current (or free
electrons) from an alternate source. Usually this takes the form of galvanic anodes,
which are more active than steel.
Sacrificial Anodes are highly active metals that are used to prevent a less active
material surface from corroding. Sacrificial Anodes are created from a metal alloy
with a more negative electrochemical potential than the other metal it will be used to
protect.
Anodic protection (AP) is a technique to control the corrosion of a metal surface by
making it the anode of an electrochemical cell and controlling the electrode potential
in a zone where the metal is passive.
The way we counteract galvanic corrosion is to add a third metal into the circuit, one
that is quicker than the other two to give up its electrons. This piece of metal is called
a sacrificial anode, and most often it is zinc. In fact, most boaters refer to
sacrificial anodes simply as zincs.
A Special Note on Magnesium Anodes for Fresh Water Essentially, fresh wateris
a much less conductive environment than salt water, therefore magnesium anodes are
your best choice as they are much more active (less noble) than zinc or
aluminum anodes.
The three most active materials used in sacrificial anodes are zinc, aluminum and
magnesium. They have different properties and uses. The first property to consider is
their electrical potential. All metals generate a negative voltage (as compared to a
reference electrode) when immersed in water.
In a galvanic cathodic protection system, the anodes connected to the protected
structure have a natural potential that is more negative than the structures. When
connected current flows from the anode (more negative potential) to the structure (less
negative potential) in a DC circuit.
Galvanic anodes (also referred to as sacrificial anodes), when properly applied, can be
used to protect underground steel, marine, internal and industrial structures from
corrosion. They do not require an outside power source to operate and are therefore
limited in their use. When properly applied they can be designed to provide long life
with ease of operation. Galvanic/sacrificial anodes are available in a variety of
configurations, including:
o Bare metal anodes including magnesium, zinc, aluminum and other alloys
o Packaged in backfill for underground use
o Made with external steel straps for mounting to structures
o Ribbon types
o Rod and special shapes
Impressed Current Cathodic Protection Systems
In many applications, the potential difference between the galvanic/sacrificial anode
and the steel structure is not enough to generate sufficient current for cathodic
protection to occur. In these cases, a power supply (rectifier) is used to generate larger
potential differences, enabling more current to flow to the structure being protected.
This is referred to as an impressed current cathodic protection system.
Cathodic Protection Design
To be the most effective and economical, cathodic protection systems must be designed
properly. Cathodic protection design is the scientific discipline involving:
An understanding of the environmental conditions and the structure to be protected
from corrosion
Review of cathodic protection options for the structure or application
Selection of the appropriate cathodic protection system
Complete cathodic protection design including comprehensive specifications and
drawings utilizing the latest engineering software

1. What is corrosion?
Corrosion is a normal occurrence common to all metals not in their natural state. The process often results in the
deterioration of the metal. In many cases the metal deterioration can be severe enough to warrant replacement
or repair. A simple scientific explanation for corrosion is that it's an electrochemical process and very similar to a
battery where electrons flow between anodic (negative) and cathodic (positive) contacts. For corrosion to occur
four elements are required:

Anode: The area of deterioration or site from which corrosion occurs and current flows
Cathode: The area of protection or site from which no corrosion occurs and current flows
Electrolyte: A medium capable of conducting electric current (i.e. soil, water or concrete)
Metallic Path: Connection between the anode and cathode

2. What is cathodic protection?


Cathodic Protection (CP) is a technology used to protect buried or immersed metals from corrosion. It is defined
as the reduction or elimination of the corrosion process by either making the corroding metal a cathode via an
impressed direct current (DC) or by connecting it to a sacrificial or galvanic anode.
Impressed current cathodic protection: This type of cathodic protection system requires an external power
source (AC, solar) and is typically applied to metal structures with large surface areas such as transmission
pipelines or above grade storage tanks.
Galvanic cathodic protection: This type of cathodic protection system is self-powered and is the simplest
application of cathodic protection. Typically it is applied to metal structures in a soils environment where there is
limited exposed surface area (i.e. well-coated short distance pipelines). Alternately, can also be used for large
uncoated structures in sea water application.

3. How do we know cathodic protection works?


CP has been in use for decades to protect underground pipelines, ship hulls, offshore oil and gas production
platforms, underground steel storage tanks, interior submerged portions of tanks and many other structures that
are exposed to marine or corrosive environments.

4. Describe the installation of the impressed current system?


These systems require the installation of a power unit, distribution wiring, and earthing electrodes for the
structure requiring corrosion protection. The right components are sized and selected through the pre-installation
design. Often the applications are unique enough that each project requires individualized design to optimize
system cost and effectiveness of corrosion protection. Once the system has been designed the install team and
Corrpro project manager work with the customer to safely and efficiently install the system. For soil applications,
often excavation is required to expose the pipe, drill anode electrode holes, trench in cables and mount power
and test equipment. After installation, the systems are commissioned by trained, certified technicians under the
direction of an experienced cathodic protection engineer.

5. The entire rehabilitation project is supposed to take one year. Will


the CP system installation impede the completion date for the project?
The CP system is typically installed simultaneously with other repair work. In general, there should be no
increase in completion time for the restoration project if CP is included in the project scope.

6. Is there any maintenance to the CP system?


Once the CP system is installed, it is necessary to provide routine operation and maintenance. For impressed
current systems, this involves visual inspection of the system and periodic checks. New advancements in
technology, such as remote monitoring systems which are available from Corrpro, have provided a convenient
way of maintaining CP systems.

7. What is the cost associated with corrosion?


Corrosion will cost the US economy over $1 trillion annually. The total cost in the U.S. is expected to increase
annually, illustrating the broad and expensive challenge that corrosion presents to equipment and materials. At
6.2% of GDP, corrosion is one of the largest single expenses in the U.S. economy yet it rarely receives the
attention it requires. Corrosion costs money and lives, resulting in dangerous failures and increased charges for
everything from utilities to transportation and more.

8. Can project costs be minimized if owners purchase and install their


own materials?
This process could prove to be risky unless the owner has staff that are properly trained and certified in the
application, installation and maintenance of cathodic protection systems.

9. Is the electricity controlled centrally and continuously? How much


electricity will the CP system use?
Yes, the rectifier and remote monitoring system are connected through one circuit breaker. The system is in
continuous operation (24 hours per day). Surprisingly, very little energy is used. The electric power required to
power most systems is between 100 and 1,000 watts.

10. If a pipeline gets struck by lightning, will the system be damaged?


The rectifier can be equipped with upgraded lightning protection, which helps protect against lightning strikes.