Corrosion Mitigation System Monitoring

Project ID: 4108
Principal Investigator: Jessica Torrey
Research Topic: Condition Assessment
Funded Fiscal Years: 2015, 2016 and 2017
Keywords: aging infrastructure; corrosion mitigation; remote monitoring

Research Question

Can we use modeling to more accurately design corrosion mitigation systems for complex hydraulic steel structures (HSS), such as gates?

Can we develop a sensor to monitor the health of the corrosion mitigation system on coated and cathodically protected structures?

Need and Benefit

It is estimated that Reclamation currently has an inventory of over 1000 cathodic protection (CP) systems on hundreds of projects through all five regions. This includes both galvanic and impressed current CP systems on aging structures such as pipelines, tanks, dams, gates, trash racks, and fittings. Many additional structures have other forms of corrosion mitigation such as protective coatings. The value of these systems totals in the $20-30m range, protecting assets that value well above the $1b mark.

Proper design and installation followed by routine testing and maintenance of a corrosion mitigation system are key components to maximizing the useful life of a protected structure. The work being conducted at USACE is two-fold: to develop a tool to model an individual structures in order to maximize the efficiency and protected area of a CP system upon installation; to develop sensors to monitor the health of the coating and CP system through the lifetime of the structure. This research will allow corrosion mitigation systems to be installed and operated at their highest efficiency in order to prevent damage due to corrosion and extend the life of the structure. This approach could yield immediate benefit to Reclamation in both saved costs for repair and replacement of coatings or structure components, as well as provide a way to monitor the health of the corrosion mitigation (coating and/or CP) without dewatering or removing the structure from service.

By collaborating with USACE on this project, Reclamation can help guide the research effort for relevance to structures common between the two agencies. For example, while Reclamation has very few miter gates as they exist on USACE lock structures, Reclamation does have bulkhead or slide gates with a similar cellular-type architecture on many dams and powerplants. Such gates have similar corrosion mitigation issues, and represent a priority area of concern for both agencies. USACE locks typically see high commercial traffic year-round, and placing these out of commission for research purposes is not practical due to the impact on commercial navigation. USBR should be able to provide a site that is more available for a pilot study.

Contributing Partners

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about partners.

Research Products

It is anticipated that this research will result in publications for submission to peer-reviewed journals. Reports will be generated documenting structures of priority concern for corrosion issues and identifying critical components of these structures, providing guidance for design and installation of corrosion mitigation systems for improved efficiency, and a case study based on the pilot test of the sensor array. In addition, USBR will have access to research products developed by USACE during this collaboration including CP modeling software and sensing technology for corrosion mitigation systems.


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Last Updated: 4/4/17