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INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL Of ACADEMIC RESEARCH

Vol. 3. No. 1. January, 2011, Part

I

DESIGN AND INSTALLATION OF A CATHODIC PROTECTION SYSTEM USING MAGNESIUM ANODE

J. E. O. Ovri*, Michael Iroh

Federal University of Technology, Owerri (NIGERIA) *Corresponding author: jimvri@yahoo.com

ABSTRACT

Design of a Cathodic Protection System for a mild steel pipe using sacrificial magnesium anode was investigated. The soil resistivity was determined using the wenner-four pin method and this was found to be 2000Ωcm. The pipe was externally coated with polytape wrapping and a protecting current of 0.019mA corres- ponding to a current density of 0.02mA/m 2 above the design requirement of 0.01132mA and 0.01mA/m 2 respectively were obtained. A protecting potential of -1100mV was obtained which is in the range (-850 to - 1150)mV for protected mild steel confirmed that the pipe was cathodically protected.

Key words: Cathodic protection system, mild steel, soil resistivity, magnesium anode, polytape wrappings.

1. INTRODUCTION

Cathodic protection employs the principle of delivering electrical current to metal in a corroding medium to sufficiently oppose corrosion current.

  • 1.1 Survey

The application of cathodic protection can be traced back to 1824 when Sir Humphrey Davy in a project financed by the British Navy succeeded in preventing the corrosion of copper sheating of the wooden hulls of British Navy ships (1) . The cathodic protection effectiveness at protecting steel in soils has been demonstrated in the early 1940s, when it was applied to an old natural gas piping network that had been developing leaks at a rapidly increasing rate and consequently abandonment was seriously considered. A reduction in the number of leaks was obtained immediately a cathodic protection was introduced (1) . Modern specifications for the cathodic protection of Active Ocean going ships were first described in 1950, since that time progress has been rapid. Considerable advances in cathodic protection technology have been made. Better sacrificial anode metals have been developed and currents for the use of controlled applied current systems using inert anode have been perfected (1) .

  • 1.2 Coating

One of the best practices in corrosion technologies involves applying coatings (2) . Coating isolates the pipe from the surrounding but unfortunately these coatings are almost never perfect. Defects or discontinuities such as holidays and foreign objects are often present. With time and with age these coatings may deteriorate (3) . This is in line with the argument of NACE standard RP 0169 – 2002 that coatings proven to be non shielding and allows passage of protective cathodic protection current should be used for example FBE, polyguard RD – 6 ethylene (4) . The conjoint application of coatings and cathodic protection takes advantage of the most attractive feature

of each of them as a method of effective corrosion control. Thus 90% of the protection is provided by the coating which forms the bulk of the protection whilst 10% protection is provided by cathodic protection. As the coating degrades with time, the activity of the cathodic protection system develops to protect the deficiency in the coating.

  • 1.3 Principles of application

Cathodic protection is applied by one of two methods. They are impressed current and by sacrificial anode. The former involves the use of an external power supply usually a rectifier which converts ordinary alternating current (ac) power to direct current (dc). The protected structure is made electrically negative so that it acts as a cathode. A second electrode is made electrically positive and completes the circuit as an auxiliary anode. The second method involves the connection of dissimilar metals (Galvanic) in an electrolyte. Current flows between the two because of dissimilar electrode potentials. The metal with the more electropositive (noble) potential becomes the cathode and is protected from corroding by the more electronegative (active) metal which corrodes. Different metals have different electrical potential and their relative positions in most aqueous environments is as follows: magnesium (mg) > zinc (zn) > Aluminium (Al) > Iron (Fe) > Steel (mild) > Tin (sn) > Lead (pb) > Brass (cu-zn) > coppers > Silver (Ag) > Gold (Au). Considering that magnesium, Aluminium and Zinc are negative to mild steel, hence they are considered for use (choice) against mild steel. Theoretically, the value of the soil resistivity determines the final selection process. Since the more resistive the soil the less its conductivity and hence the need for more negative electrode potential of anode. Magnesium

anode is selected at soil resistivity above 15000cm (5) .

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL Of ACADEMIC RESEARCH

Vol. 3. No. 1. January, 2011, Part I

  • 1.4 Protection criteria

The standard against which the anode potential is related plays important role in determining the actual potential required to give optimum protection to the pipe. Hence this work made use of cu/cuso4 half cell as the

reference electrode. The protection potential fall within this range. Minimum protection potential = -850mV. Limit prior to over protection = -1150mV.

  • 1.5 Objective of the work

The commonest problems encountered in cathodic protection are:

  • 1. availability of limited voltage which makes it difficult to achieve desired consistent protection current and

  • 2. the situation of obtaining higher protection potential which can at a long run disband the coating material,

since most of its application as seen from the previous survey involved large structures. Hence the work is aimed a alleviating this condition, by

  • 1. Ensuring efficient cathodic protection current distribution through proper design for regulating resistances

of the electrical current and avoiding the practice of exposing some part of the pipe in order to reduce the

protection potential.

  • 2. Designing a means of applying cathodic protection to high resistive electrolyte as experienced in this

work.

  • 2. EXPERIMENTALS

Available parameters, environmental conditions and engineering factors (safety, utilization) etc were put into proper consideration.

Procedure: The pipe was polished to silver mirror finish prior to the start of test to remove all traces of existing corrosion products and specifically make it more prone to corrosion if not adequately protected. Coating was manually applied in a manner that ensures effective adhesion to the pipe and devoid of voids, wrinkles, holidays and gas entrapment in line with ASME code for pressure piping (6) . Connecting cables were attached to the pipe surface tightly and well insulated for effective current supply as well as for pipe to soil potential measurement. The soil was excavated to the required depth of 1 meter and the pipe was installed along with anode and are connected with the cable. The cu/cuso4 cell was wetted and put in place on wet ground. The designs and set are described in the following sections:

  • 2.1 Pipe geometry

    • i. Length (L) = 3 meters (m)

ii. External Diameter (D) = 100mm = 0.1m

iii. Total surface Area Sa = DL

where = 3.142

D = 0.1m L = 3m sa = 3.142 x 0.1 x 3 = 0.943m 2

iv. current density (i). for all coated steel in soil, current required for adequate cathodic protection based on

2

) ranges from 0.01 to 0.2 (mA/M 2 ) (5) . Current density chosen for this investigation =

superficial area (MA/m 0.01MA/m 2 .

  • v. Total current required to protect the pipe

I = Sa x i x f

Where

 

i

hence

 

I

A = r 2 = Where

Rs =

e s x L

A A = 0.005m 2

Sa = 0.943

f = safety factor = 0.4

= current density = 0.01mA/m 2

I = 0.943 x 0.01 x 0.4

= 0.01132MA

vi. Cross Sectional area of pipe

(R – t) 2 R = external Radius = 0.5m t = pipe thickness = 0.01m A = 3.42 (0.05 x 0.01) 2 = 0.005m

2

vii. Linear resistance of pipe

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL Of ACADEMIC RESEARCH

Vol. 3. No. 1. January, 2011, Part

I

e s – Resistivity of steel = 1.8 x 10 -7 m L = 3m Rs = 1.8 x 10 -7 x 3

0.005

= 1.08 x 10 -4

viii. Coating Leakage Resistance of pipe R L = R C DL where R C = Coating resistance = 15,000m 2 R L = 15,000 3.142 x 3 x 0.1 = 15.9 x 10 3

ix. Attenuation factor

R S 0.5 A f = R L where R S = Linear Resistance of pipe
R S 0.5
A f =
R L
where R S = Linear Resistance of pipe = 1.0 x 10 -4  and R L =
Coating Leakage Resistance of pipe = 15.9 x 10 3 
0.5
A f =
1.08 x 10 -4
15.9 x10 3
A f = 1.06 x 10 -4
x. Pipe characteristics resistance
Z
=
(R S x
R L )0.5
Z = (1.06 x 10 -4 ) x (15.9 x 10 3 ) ½

= 1.3

xi. Designed life of pipe Y = 40 years

2.2 Anode design

i. The total current (Ia) required by the anode Ia = Sa x i x S f

Where

Sa = surface area of pipe = 0.943m 2 i = Current density = 0.01mA/m 2 S f = Safety factor = 1.5 hence Ia = 0.943 x 0.01 x 1.5 = 0.014MA.

ii. Required anode composition shown in Table 1 below.

Table 1. Anode composition

Element

Composition

Cu

0.02

max

Al

0.01

max

Si

0.05

max

Fe

0.03

Mn

0.5 – 1.3

 

Ni

0.001

 

Others

0.05

Mg

remainder

 

× ×

 
 

=

0.014 × 7.9 × 40

 

=

 

= 5.3

 

0.8

(iv) Calculation of desired anode weight

Where = total anode current = 0.014 mA = anode consumption rate = 7.9 kg/Ayr = designed life of pipe = 40 years = utilization factor = 0.8

(v) Minimum anode package weight = 7.5kg hence number of required anode = 1.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL Of ACADEMIC RESEARCH

Vol. 3. No. 1. January, 2011, Part I

(vi) Anode efficiency = 50%

(vii) Resistant of anode to earth

 

=

 

2

= 2 0.75 × 0.25

3.142

 

2.3 8 − 1 +

= Soil resistivity from Table 4 = 2000Ω = 20Ωm

  • L = Length of anode = 0.25m

  • d = Equivalent diameter of anode = 2

where a and b are anode dimensions

a = 0.075m

b = 0.25m

= 0.167

= Coating Resistance = 15,000Ω

=

  • 2000 × 0.25 2.3 8 × 0.25 − 1 + 15000

0.167

2 × 3.142

= 12.73(2.3log(11.98) − 1) + 15000

= 18.846 + 15000 = 15018.85Ω

  • 2.3 Cable

The cables used were single core stranded copper cable of size 6 with consistent size to avoid voltage

drops.

  • 2.4 Instruments

The instruments were calibrated to an accuracy of 0.5% of full scale detection. They were portable and

sufficiently robustly constructed to withstand rough handling and to be capable of operating reliably under a wide

range of climatic conditions. The instruments are half cell, multimeter for current, voltage and resistance

reading, Rheostat for varying resistances, and Resistivity meter for testing soil resistivity.

  • 2.5 Test post

This is the point along the pipe where potential measurements are taken. The pipe is exposed at this point.

The test post is of length

= 1.5 = 150

= 15

= 0.4

Height above buried pipe = 50 cm. A bolt passes through the test pole at a distance of 0.25m from the top.

= 7

The bolt is supported by insulating shelve of length 30mm and two washers. This will stop the bolt from

making contact with post wall. Also a nut is added to secure the internal cable. The general design set up is shown

in Fig. 1.

I NTERNATIONAL J OURNAL Of A CADEMIC R ESEARCH Vol. 3. No. 1. January, 2011,

3. RESULTS

Fig. 1. Set up of work

Table 2. Soil physical properties result

Properties

Unit of measurement

Value

Moisture content

%

52.5

Specific gravity

-

2.61

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL Of ACADEMIC RESEARCH

Vol. 3. No. 1. January, 2011, Part

I

Table 3. Soil chemical properties result

Property

Unit of measurement

Value

pH

-

4.4

Sulphate

wt%

18.65

Carbonate

wt%

0.22

Chloride

wt%

1.82

3.1 Soil resistivity result

Using Wenner four pin method the ohmic relationship was employed to obtain the resistance of each

measurement of current and voltage

where V = Voltage

= Current, R = Resistance

=

=

The resistance multiplied by the factor of 191.5 and depth distance gives the resistivity result in (Ω ).

Table 4. Resistivity result

S/N Spacing (ft) R(Ω) Factor Depth Resistivity (Ω ) 1 4 2.61 191.5 0 – 4
S/N
Spacing (ft)
R(Ω)
Factor
Depth
Resistivity (Ω )
1
4
2.61
191.5
0 – 4
2000
2
6
2.82
191.5
0 – 6
3240
3
8
2.00
191.5
0 – 8
4596
Plot of Resistivity against Depth is shown in Fig. 2
Fig. 2. Plot of Resistivity versus Depth
Table 5. Potential along the pipe
Distance (mm)
Value (-mv)
0
1000
1000
1100
2000
1100
3000
950

Current density obtained = 0.02mA/m2

Pipe protection current = 0.019mA

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL Of ACADEMIC RESEARCH

Vol. 3. No. 1. January, 2011, Part I

Plot potential variation along the pipe is shown in Fig 3

I NTERNATIONAL J OURNAL Of A CADEMIC R ESEARCH Vol. 3. No. 1. January, 2011,
  • 4. DISCUSSION

Fig. 3. Plot of Potential along the pipe

The soil resistivity result falls in line with the argument of Francis (7) that resistivity increases with depth

showing low corrositivity. The corrosivity varies inversely to the resistivity of the electrolyte hence satisfying the

suitability of application of cathodic protection by sacrificial anode method particularly using magnesium anode

which is a highly reactive anode.

  • 4.1 Potential distribution

The result shows that the soil is homogenous and this enhanced uniform potential distribution as can be

seen from the result in table 7 and figure 3 showing that the variation of potential is within the limit of optimum

protection.

The protection potential obtained (-1100mv) being a little above the optimum (-850mv) for optimum

protection is desirable considering the fact that though the resistivity of the soil is high (low corrosivity), there is the

tendency of sulphate induced bacteria corrosion as can be seen from the result in (table 3). This higher percentage

of sulphate can instigate local corrosion and cause coating deterioration through some microbial actions.

Furthermore, table 2 shows high moisture content of the solid which can also decrease the resistance of

the coating to allow for high demand for current according to ohmic law. This can lead to drop in the protection

potential but nonetheless will be within the limit of optimum protection.

  • 4.2 Protection current

The demand for optimum protection current according to design (sec 2.1) is 0.01132MA while the value

obtained exceeds the value to reach up to 0.019MA. The current density designed with was 0.01MA/m 2 and the

value obtained was 0.02MA/m 2 . This was as a result of the introduction of safety and utilization factors to give room

for safety and utilization since some reaction in the soil can induce increase in corrosion rate, which can cause the

value to fall below optimum value prior to the end of design life of pipe. Again coating may degrade and expose the

pipe leading to simultaneous increase in current demand.

  • 5. CONCLUSION

The cathodic protection of mild steel pipe as investigated in this work gave the results -1100m (protection

potential). 0.019MA pipe protection current and current density of 0.02MA/M 2 above values of (-850mv),

0.01132MA and 0.01MA/m 2

optimum protecting voltage, desired current and current density respectively. This

satisfies the objective of protecting small steel pipe effectively at optimum cost.

REFERENCES

  • 1. Proceedings of the Royal Society Corrosion of Copper Sheating by seawater and on methods of preventing this effect 114 (1824) PP 151 – 246 and 115 (1825) PP 328 – 316.

  • 2. Cuvan Edward Corrosion Control in Gas Pipeline; Coating protection pipeline and gas Journal (Oct 2007)

  • 3. Okorafor Chigbu: Cathodic protection as a means of saving National asset; Journal of Corrosion Science and Technology 1.1, 2004.

  • 4. NAEC Standard RP 0169 – 2002 Control of External Corrosion on Underground or Submerged metallic piping systems.

  • 5. Sherir L. L. Corrosion: Vol. 2 Newness Butterworth.

  • 6. ASME Code for pressure piping gas transmission and distribution piping system.

B a k u ,

A z e r b a i j a n

| 101

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL Of ACADEMIC RESEARCH

Vol. 3. No. 1. January, 2011, Part

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  • 7. Francis P. E. (1981) Cathodic protection Arnold Publishers (London).

  • 8. Moore J. J. (1990) Chemical Metallurgy (2Ed.) Elsevier Science and Technology book.

  • 9. Bushman J. B. Galvanic Anode Cathodic Protection system design: Bushman and associates incorporated (Ohio).