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Maher Ouselati(Graduate Student,Civil Engg)

Pavani Chennapragada(Graduate Student,Chemical Engg)



S.NO Title Page No

1 Introduction 3

2 Galvanic Anode Protection 4

3 Impressed Current Cathodic Protection 11

4 Ground Bed Design 15

5 Backfill Materials 16

6 Economic merits of Cathodic Protection 17

7 Merits and Demerits 17

8 Comparison of Galvanic Anodes 19

9 Comparison of Impressed Current Anodes 19

10 Comparison of Impressed and Galvanic Current Anodes 20

11 Conclusions 20

12 Bibliography 21


The science of cathodic protection (CP) was born in 1824, when Sir Humphrey
Davy made a presentation to the Royal Society of London: “The rapid decay of
the copper sheeting on His Majesty’s ships of war, and the uncertainty of the
time of its duration, have long attracted the attention of those persons most
concerned in the naval interest of the count. ... I entered into an experimental
investigation upon copper. In pursuing this investigation, I have ascertained
many facts ... to illustrate some obscure parts of electrochemical science...
seem to offer important application.” Davy succeeded in protecting copper
against corrosion from seawater by the use of iron anodes. From that
beginning, CP has grown to have many uses in marine and underground
structures, water storage tanks, gas pipelines, oil platform supports, and many
other facilities exposed to a corrosive environment . Recently, it is proving to
be an effective method for protecting reinforcing steel from chloride-induced

The basic principle of CP is simple. A metal dissolution is reduced through the

application of a cathodic current. Cathodic protection is often applied to
coated structures, with the coating providing the primary form of corrosion
protection. The CP current requirements tend to be excessive for uncoated
systems. The first application of CP dates back to 1824, long before its
theoretical foundation was established. Cathodic protection has probably
become the most widely used method for preventing the corrosion
deterioration of metallic structures in contact with any forms of
electrolytically conducting environments, i.e. environments containing
enough ions to conduct electricity such as soils, seawater and basically all
natural waters. Cathodic protection basically reduces the corrosion rate of a
metallic structure by reducing its corrosion potential, bringing the metal closer
to an immune state. The two main methods of achieving this goal are by

• Using sacrificial anodes with a corrosion potential lower than the metal
to be protected

• Using an impressed current provided by an external current source

1.Galvanic Anode Protection

The earliest experiments on cathodic protection were performed with zinc
anodes that were electrically connected to copper plates immersed in
seawater. As can be seen on the galvanic series, such an arrangement would
produce a cathode (copper) and an anode (zinc). In the large galvanic cell so
formed the zinc cylinder corroded away in a manner to protect the copper
substrate. This method of cathodic protection can be used with other
combination of metals the necessary current to the metal to be protected.

When two metals are electrically connected to each other in a electrolyte e.g.
seawater, electrons will flow from the more active metal to the other, due to
the difference in the electrical potential, the so called “driving force”. When
the most active metal (anode) supplies current, it will gradually dissolve into
ions in the electrolyte, and at the same time produce electrons, which the
least active (cathode) will receive through the metallic connection with the
anode. The result is that the cathode will be negatively polarized and hence be
protected against corrosion. To calculate the rates at which these processes
occur, one has to understand the electrochemical kinetics associated with the
complex sets of reactions that can all happen simultaneously on these metals.

1.1 Galvanic anode material

The galvanic series shows that magnesium heads the list as the most anodic
metal and is widely separated from iron in the galvanic series. Magnesium
coupled to iron provides sufficient galvanic potential to provide positive
protection. An important feature of a sacrificial anode system is that it is
inherently a safer system than impressed cathodic protection systems because
the normal potentials generated are insufficient to damage coatings present on
the surface to be protected. Because of the low potentials generated,
sacrificial systems can be used only in low-resistance soils, i.e., with a
resistivity less than 3000  cm.

Schematic of Galvanic Anode System

1.2 Magnesium Anodes

Magnesium has an equilibrium potential of -2.61V vs. SCE and therefore

theoretically can provide a very large driving voltage. However, practical
measurements indicate relatively more noble corrosion potentials probably due
to the electrochemical inefficiency of the metal as a sacrificial anode. The low
efficiency (50-60%) has been attributed to hydrogen evolution at local cathodes

and complex surface chemistry at the anode surface. The theoretical current
capacity for a magnesium anode is approximately 2200 Ah kg-1 whereas actual
measured values are in the range of 1200 Ah kg-1.

Alloyingelements (Al, Zn, Mn) have been added to reduce the rapid activation
of magnesium. Magnesium alloy anodes because of their large driving voltage
are principally used in soils, water tanks, and similar high resistance media. In
high conductivity environments, such as seawater, magnesium anodes are

generally not recommended because of risk of overprotection and high
consumption rate.

1.3 Anode Efficiency

A prospective sacrificial anode must possess a large number of electrons per

unit mass and should deliver these electric charges efficiently. Thus the
electrical output of an anode is given by current capacity which is expressed in
Ah kg-1 or kg A-1 y-1. The value of the current capacity is determined by the
electrochemical equivalent, the density and the efficiency of the anodic
material. The electrochemical equivalent, which is dependent on the atomic
weight and valence, is a characteristic of the anode material. However
efficiency is determined by a number of factors including nature of the
environment, operating current density and metallurgical microstructure. It is
apparent that if the cathode reaction rate on the anode is low then the
efficiency will be high, so that there is minimum self corrosion. Similarly large
operating currents will yield high anode efficiency. It should be added that the
type of corrosion attack experienced by the anode also significantly affects the
magnitude of the anode efficiency. For instance, severe pitting and
intergranular attack may result in a chunk of the anode to become detached
without complete consumption of the electric charge in that piece.

1.4 Designing a sacrificial anode system

Several factors enter the determination as to how many sacrificial anodes may
be required for a given structure and corrosion problem and the manner of
distributing them with respect to the location where corrosion is occurring. The
anode requirements for a small installation will normally involve the steps
taken in the following examples. For cathodic protection of larger structures
involving use of six or more anodes or an impressed current (rectifier) system,
additional steps must be taken to assure proper functioning of the system, i.e.,

proper distribution of the anodes, prevention of damage to other buried metal
work, design of an economic system, and proper operation and maintenance.

1.5 Calculations for the given design problem

Given: A pipe of 25000ft and 3/4ft diameter. The soil resistivity is given as
800ohm-cm.Structure to environmental resistance is 30ohm-ft2.The steel
coating on the structure is considered poor and the cost of the power is
Wanted: 1.The surface area of the component to be protected.
2. Current requirements for protection.
3. Number of anodes required to protect the structure.
4. Lifetime of anodes.
5. Cost requirements for the system.
Solution: 1. Area of the structure,A= 2πRh = πDh
Therefore A=3.14*0.75*25000
A=58904.86 ft2.
2. since the coating of steel is poor, from the table provided in the
Design sheet problem(page 2 in the given handout)
We get ip=0.15mA/ft2.
Since I=ip* total structure area (A),
We get I=0.15*10-3*58904.86
The current required for protection is 8.83A.
3.The working potential for anode
(from Galvanic Anode Specs)EA =-1.45V
The protection potential, Eprot=-0.85V (from the National
Association of Corrosion Engineers specification for buried utility
With the help of the above calculated values the maximum
tolerable circuit resistance(R) is evaluated.

0.1589   8L  
Ra = ρ  2.3 log 10   − 1
L   d  
where Ra = resistance in ohms of the anode
ρ = resistivity of soil
L = length of anode in cm
d = diameter of the anode in cm
while considering the diameter of the anode the backfill is also
0.1589   8 * 152 .4  
* 800 * 
 2.3 log 10   −1

Therefore Ra = 152 .4   15 .24  

RA = 2.817 ohm
E A − E prot
Electronic current through the circuit,I =
R1 + R2 + R3 + R4

R3 is the soil resistance which can be neglected.

R4 is the wire and the contact resistance which is very small and
hence can be neglected.
Hence R3,R4 can be made equal to zero.
R2 is the structure to soil resistance.
Therefore R2= .
R2= = 5.09 * 10 −4 ohm.
58904 .86
now since we do not know the number of anodes required let us
assume them to be “n”.
also assume that the system is equivalent to one anode with
resistance R1= RA/n.
E A − E prot
now we have the current I=  R A 
 + R2 
 n 
 E A − E prot 
therefore RA/n= 
 I
 −R
 2
 

 −1.45 + 0.85 
⇒ RHS : 

 − 5.09 * 10 −4 = 0.06744

 8 . 83 
⇒ LHS : n = = 41 .76 ≅ 42

The number of anodes required=42

−1.45 + 0.85
The current provided by 42 anodes is I=  2.817 
 + 5.08 * 10 −4 
 42 

Hence, I= 8.878A
4.Now each anode generates a current of I=8.8/42=0.22A
dm 1
But I= nF
dt Aw

dm IAW
⇒ =
dt nF
 dm   dm 
But   actual=80% over   theoretical
 dt   dt 
= 1.8*2.77*10-5=4.986*10-5g/s
( M anode )
life of the anode would be t=  dm 
 
 dt  actual
= 4170/(4.986*10-5)
=2.65 years.
The life time of each anode is 2.65 years.

5. Cost of the anode installed=$300 each.

Number of anodes installed =42
Hence the cost of one set of anodes is =42*300=$12,600.
Assuming that the economy will be stable during the project life

of the project , we take the discount rate as 4%.
Since the structure is obsolete after 30 years and the lifetime of
each anode is 2.65 years we need to replace the anodes 12 times
for the lifetime of a structure.
The following is a generalized formula between present and
future cash flows:
( Fn )
PV =
(1 + i ) n
which states that present value (PV) of a future cash flow (Fn)
after (n) time periods equals the future amount (Cn) discounted to
zero date at some interest rate (i).
Based on the above formula the cost for each replacement has
been calculated and tabulated below.

number of future present

sets year cost($) cost($)
1 1 12,600 12,600
2 2.65 11,356
3 5.3 10,235
4 7.95 9,221
5 10.6 8,314
6 13.25 7,493
7 15.9 6,753
8 18.55 6,087
9 21.2 5,486
10 23.85 4,944
11 26.5 4,456
12 29.15 4,016
Hence the total cost of the system is $90,961 for a period of
30 years. therefore the cost/year=$3032.03

2.Impressed Current Cathodic Protection

Cathodic protection can be also applied if the metal to be protected is coupled
to the negative pole of a direct current (DC) source, while the positive pole is
coupled to an auxiliary anode. Since the driving voltage is provided by the DC

source there is no need for the anode to be more active than the structure to
be protected. There are basically three types of anode materials:

• Inert or non consumable anodes

• Semi-consumable anodes
• Consumable anodes
All items to be protected shall be electrically connected and should have a
welded or brazed connection to an anode.

Schematic of Impressed Current Cathode System

2.1 Calculations for the given design problem

Given: A pipe of 25000ft and 3/4ft diameter. The soil resistivity is given as
800ohm-cm.Structure to environmental resistance is 30ohm-ft2.The steel

coating on the structure is considered poor and the cost of the power is
Wanted: 1.The surface area of the component to be protected.
2. Current requirements for protection.
3. Number of anodes required to protect the structure.
4. Lifetime of anodes.
5. Cost requirements for the system.
Solution: The impressed current calculations are basically the same as the
galvanic anode calculations except for the potentials that have to be
considered since this involves an external power supply. Therefore we get

RA=2.81 ohm, I=8.8A and R2=0.00051 ohm.

1.The surface area of the component to be protected,

A=58904.86 ft2

2. The current required for protection, I=8.8A

3. Now assume back voltage as 2V and also that the rectifier voltage

output is not more than 5V over back-voltage.

we get I=(7-2)/(RA/n+R2)

therefore the number of anodes=5

4. given that the consumption rate is 1.5lb/A-year.

Mass of each anode =29.414kg=64.71lb

Total mass of anodes=323.55lb

For a current of I=8.8A, dm/dt=13.332

Therefore the lifetime of anodes=323.55/13.332=24.26years

Lifetime of anode=25 years

5. Cost of each anode=$500

Backfill cost=$100

Total cost of anode=5*600=$3000

Rectifier cost=$1000.



Total power required for 24 years=24*62.16*365



at the cost of 4.5cents/kWh, the cost of power



but the actual cost for 25 years




hence for the first installation the total cost



A second installation is needed, assuming that the rectifier is

maintained in good condition and will not be replaced, the cost

for the second installation will only include the cost of anodes

and the cost of power required for 5 years.

The cost of the power for the remaining 5 years would be



the total cost for the second installation=$3000+$49.49


the total cost of the system is =$4398.05+$3049.49



The possibility of reducing the cost has been explored by

lowering the potential of the rectifier. If the potential of the

rectifier is taken as 6V then the cost has been found to be

comparatively less.

The number of anodes in this case are found to be 6.18.

Practically 7 anodes are considered.

The lifetime of the anodes now is 34 years and hence we

will need only one installation.

The cost of power will be $369.92

The cost of anodes will be $4200

The cost of rectifier is $ 1000.

The total present cost is $5569.92 and hence the


3.Groundbed Design
For underground structures requiring cathodic protection, the location and
nature of the site where the anode is placed needs careful consideration. A low
soil resistivity, which would otherwise be classified as a highly corrosive soil, is
not the only factor which determines the location of the anode. Other factors

to be considered include the presence of foreign metallic structures,
accessibility and availability of a power source. The location which is
specifically prepared to house a single or a combination of anodes is called a

• Impressed anode groundbeds: Once a location is selected and the soil

resistivity is determined, the engineer needs to design the type of
groundbed and choose anode material and combination. Types of
groundbeds are classified as: shallow vertical, shallow horizontal or deep
well. Anode materials used for underground impressed current systems
are generally graphite or high silicon cast iron. In the groundbed, it is
preferred for the anode to be surrounded by a carbonaceous backfill.
The backfill particles help to reduce anode resistance to earth, extend
anode life by allowing anodic reactions to occur on their surface and
provide a porous structure so the gases produced can escape.

• A basic design incorporates the use of a steel casing to prevent the

collapse of the drilled hole. Several anodes attached together with a
rope are placed inside the casing. The remaining space is then filled
with carbonaceous material. Once the groundbed becomes operative the
steel casing will be consumed. After the pipe corrodes away the anode
and backfill become active. Deep wells are generally fitted with a vent
to allow gases to escape. Gas entrapment tends to increase the
groundbed resistance. It should be added that in certain rock formations
anodes have been installed satisfactorily without a steel casing.
Although deep well groundbeds provide good current distribution they
are expensive to construct because of the cost of the drilling. Careful
design is also necessary because anode failures cannot be easily

• Sacrificial Anode Groundbeds: In certain situations, for example in

reducing stray current effects, a sacrificial system may be specified to
protect underground structures. The backfill used with these anodes is

different from that described for impressed anodes. A typical backfill
contains a mixture of clay and gypsum. The function of this chemical
backfill to provide conditions favorable to anode dissolution. It also
helps to reduce the groundbed resistance. Groundbed resistances can be
calculated using the same procedure adopted for impressed current
anodes. Individual galvanic anodes in a horizontal groundbed are
generally not used. For this type of groundbed a continuous galvanic
anode strip is found to be practical.

4.Backfill Materials
The type of backfill used in a groundbed depends on whether the cathodic
protection system is sacrificial or impressed.

• Chemical backfills: The chemical backfill used with galvanic anodes

provides an environment which is conducive for anode dissolution. A
typical mixture is 75% powdered gypsum (calcium sufate), 20% granular
bentonite and 5% sodium sulfate. This mixture has a resistivity of 50 
cm and is suitable for use in high resistivity soils. The function of the
bentonite is to absorb water and expand, thus ensuring good contact
between anode and soil by lowering groundbed resistance. A 75%
bentonite 25 % gypsum mixture (250  cm) is recommended for low
moisture soils.

• Carbonaceous backfills: Impressed current anodes are usually

surrounded by a carbonaceous backfill. Types of materials use include
coke breeze, calcined petroleum coke and natural graphite. The dual
purpose of the carbonaceous backfill is to reduce the groundbed
resistance by increasing the effective size of the anode and to provide a
surface on which oxidation reactions could occur. The latter function
prolongs anode life. To ensure good electrical contact, the backfill must
be tamped around the anode. Resistivity of carbonaceous backfills are in
the order of 50  cm.

Particle size and shape are also important when specifying a backfill. Both
parameters determine the contact area between anode and earth whilst
influencing the porosity of the column which is important for gas ventilation. A
general purpose coke breeze is for use in shallow horizontal and vertical
groundbeds. It has a resistivity of 35  cm. For deep well applications a
special calcined petroleum coke breeze is available. It has a resistivity of 15 
cm and can be pumped.

5.Economic Merits of Cathodic protection

• Savings in materials due to reduction in corrosion margin

• Elimination of production losses
• Lower depreciation rates through extension of durable life
• Fewer equipment shutdowns
• Lower maintenance cost
• Guarantee against personal and property damage

6.Merits and Demerits

6.1 Galvanic Anode

• Independent of electrical power source. Less maintenance.

• Usefulness is generally restricted to protection of well-coated
structures or local protection.
• Impracticable except with soils or waters with low resistivity.
• Simple to install with easy additions.
• Inspection involves testing at each anode or between adjacent
• Requires at large number of positions with different life.
• Less likely to affect any nearby structures.
• Self regulating capabilities of protective current against
environmental changes.

• Bulkiness may impair smooth flow.
• Can be bolted or welded directly to protecting surface avoiding any
• Connecting members are also protected.
• No misconnections.

6.2 Impressed Current Cathode

• Requires electric power source.

• can be applied to wide range of structures.
• Less restricted by resistivity of soil or water.
• Needs careful design against unforeseen or change of conditions.
• Needs inspection at relatively few positions of easy access.
• Requires small number of anodes.
• Affects other structures near groundbed.
• Damage hazards to coatings are greater due to incorrect
adjustment in spite of simple control.
• Compactness of anodes gives negligible drag.
• Requires perforation in all cases on ships hulls, plants etc..
• Requires high integrity of insulation on connections to positive side
of rectifier.
• Requires careful polarity checking. Misconnection can accelerate

7.Comparison of Galvanic Anodes

8.Comparison of Impressed Current Anodes

9.Comparison of Galvanic and Impressed current anodes

Galvanic Impressed current
anode anode
Material Mg alloy cast silicon iron
Length(ft) 5 5
Diameter(in) 2 2.2
surface area to be
protected(ft2) 58904.86 58904.86
current required for
protection(A) 8.8 8.8
number of anodes 42 7
weight of each anode(kg) 4.17 29.414
lifetime of each anode(years) 2.65 30
total cost of the system($) 90961 5569.92
cost/year($) 3032.03 185

After the design calculations we have come to the conclusion
that the impressed current cathodic system is much cheaper than the galvanic
anode protection system. Also it has been found that by considering a rectifier
of lower potential the lifetime of the anodes considerably increased and hence
the cost/year is also reduced in the case of impressed current cathode
system.The number of anodes involved in the case of impressed current is also
very less in comparison to the number of anodes involved in the galvanic anode
system for the same structure.


1.R.Heidersbach,”cathodic Protection”,p.467 in Metals Handbook,9th. Ed.,Vol.13,ASM
International, Metals Park,OH,1987.
4.Steven F.Daily,”Understanding Corrosion and Cathodic protection of Reinforced Concrete
Structures”,Corrpro Companies,Inc.
6.H.Uhlig and R.W.Revie,”Corrosion and Corrosion Control”,John Wiley,New York,1985.