What is Cathodic Protection?
Cathodic Protection (CP) is one of the most effective ways to prevent corrosion of natural gas pipes. Metals, especially galvanized steel, corrode in the presence of oxygen, water, and other impurities such as sulfur. This protective measure is used in many applications including pipelines and ships.
Equipment operating in harsh environments benefit the most from cathodic protection. The two most common applications of CP are for buried pipeline systems and vessels as well as offshore platforms where minerals like sulfur and salt will corrode metal.
How Cathodic Protection Works
There are two methods of cathodic protection: Galvanic and Impressed Current. The process entails protecting a metal surface (such as a pipe) using another metal that is more reactive. This “sacrificial” metal undergoes oxidation rather than the operating equipment. Galvanized metals (steel) corrode when oxidation occurs due to harsh environmental factors like salt and sulfur.
Impressed Current Cathodic Protection (ICCP) is a more economical method of CP for situations when underground pipelines are long or offshore equipment is very large. ICCP simply supplies the metal with electrons from an external source, making it resist corrosion.
What to keep in mind
The effectiveness of CP depends on the comprehensiveness of the installation. Seek an experience specialty contractor. Inadequate designs may not maximize the amount of current reaching the protected component. CP designs should consider the environmental conditions and monitor stray currents that may interfere with the system. These interfering currents could be due to the environment or neighboring components.
Although cathodic protection is an effective way to protect your steel pipes from corrosion, you can’t simply set it and forget it; the CP equipment must be monitored and maintained in order to be effective and reliable. MBS Engineering offers tailored maintenance programs designed specifically for your facility’s needs, no matter how complex your project.
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