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Potentiodynamic Polarization Testing to Confirm the Suitability of Zinc Anodes in Natural Waters Specific to Reclamation

Project ID: 6793
Principal Investigator: Roger Turcotte
Research Topic: Repair and Maintenance
Funded Fiscal Years: 2014
Keywords: cathodic protection, galvanic anodes, sacrificial anode cathodic protection.

Research Question

Will zinc anodes, boldly exposed to natural waters within the areas of Reclamation's responsibility, remain active or will they passivate and loose protective capabilities?

Need and Benefit

Zinc anodes when used in natural waters are not surrounded by activating, sulfate rich backfill material but must be boldly exposed. In some waters, this can lead to their forming a passive film and loosing protective capabilities. As a result Reclamation tends to avoid the concern by using magnesium anodes, which seem less likely to passivate. However, zinc anodes are considerably more efficient than magnesium (90% vs. 50% is typical) and are not likely to cause coating damage if directly mounted to a coated structure. Potentiodynamic polarization testing could help to verify which waters might be a problem and which would not; this could provide considerable benefit when Reclamation needs to cathodically protect structures.

Research Products

The research product will be a report (Technical Memorandum) indicating the literature findings and pointing out equipment and research needs as a next step in the development of the technique within Reclamation.

This information was last updated on September 1, 2014
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