It is somewhat disconcerting to think that the metallic structures produced through modern refining processes are not as indestructible as they appear to be. From behemoth ship propellors to giant wind turbines, the one thing these and many other submerged or buried metallic structures have in common is their susceptibility to the destructive effects of corrosion. CAPAC systems, or impressed cathodic protection systems, are what the Marine and Offshore Oil & Gas and Civil Industries rely on to preserve their multimillion dollar assets.
Using Energy to Save Energy
While industrial coatings are an absolute neccessity in the protection of structures that are exposed to the elements, cathodic protection (CP) is a secondary technique to control corrosion. Operating on the basis of how these substrates are manufactured, CP uses electrical DC current to stop the corrosion reaction from occurring. With very few exceptions, a great deal of energy goes into the refining of metals. The corrosion reaction is simply nature’s way of taking that energy back. This exchange is evidenced in the formation of rust or iron oxide.
Oxidation is responsible for more deterioration of unprotected surfaces on a scale that is estimated between 3-5 percent of the gross national product (GNP) of all industrialized nations as reflected here – http://www.cathodicme.com. In actual cost, that equates to an average of $300 billion annually. Applying the electrochemical process of Cathodic Protection is a way to save at least a third of this economic hit.
The Electrochemical Process
Creating an electrical current to flow from a rectifier through a cabling system to anodes, which may include junction boxes, the anodes will discharge the current as it is coming off the structures and the flow continues through the cabling system back to the rectifier. Structures that are buried or submerged are exposed to electrolytes. Soil, water and sea water all act as an electrolytic channel for this process of corrosion that occurs as energy is pulled from the substrates.
The Anode Systems
There are two basic anode systems:
- Galvanic or sacrificial anodes
- Impressed current anodes that use an external power supply
Designing CAPAC Systems calls for a thorough analysis of the geometric structures to be protected contemplating their bare surface area and the quality and type of coated areas as well as gaining an understanding of the metallurgy and determining the electrical continuity of the structure. Then the site and its environment are evaluated in order to calculate the current and density that will be required. After that, the anode selection can be made. The determining factors are anode length and electrolyte resistance. A full range of anodes are manufactured in strict accordance with NACE and ASTM standards.
Industrial Engineering Services
Whether building new projects, deploying to high seas, offshore or land-based industrial sites, for technical sales, new systems engineering or a host of other engineering services, turn to http://www.cathodicme.com for Cathodic Protection (CP), Marine Growth Prevention Systems (MGPS) and their Engineering and Fabrication works.