Two day training seminar Introduction

Cathodic Protection Engineering

This seminar is designed to update those are responsible for executive decisions related to corrosion control of networks of pipelines and facilities, that is known as Cathodic Protection Engineering.

The subjects under examination effect decisions that are made at the highest level, and it is important that the executives concerned should understand the consequences of cathodic protection activities and the reasons behind the opinions that are being expressed in international conferences on this subject.

Misapplication of cathodic protection can cause accelerated corrosion.

It cannot be emphasised enough, that the subjects to be discussed in this seminar effect the whole of cathodic protection practice. Misunderstanding can lead to the installation of systems that can actually cause corrosion failures rather than prevent them.

Cathodic protection can be a most cost effective maintenance activity, but it is a science which needs to be applied by engineers who are acting on sound engineering principles, supported by proven scientific theories.

Keep it simple

We are all governed by the rules of nature and that is why scientists codify these laws so that we have a common understanding. Dropping a coin is a good example of how we understand that gravity is enforcement of a law that cannot be broken. Learning equations and scientific notation, using unfamiliar written characters may be good for the ego but it is not helpful in applying knowledge in engineering.

Cathodic Protection Network not only knows of the specific scientific notation but can demonstrate repeatedly that it is correct and can apply this in field work. That is why we make models and use instruments during our courses and are able to make true computer simulations of the technology we are applying.

The world is a cathodic protection circuit.

This fact is not recognised by established specialists to the extent that a committee of the European Corrosion Conference asked for further explanation of a paper I submitted for presentation at their conference.

As more pipeline systems were installed, the technical problems in cathodic protection became more complex and the global pipeline network has now grown into a huge integrated electrical network which must be balanced very skilfully to control the electro-chemical reactions that would otherwise destroy our assets.

We must start by understanding the corrosion reaction that is found in dry cell batteries and move through to the effects of solar energy (that has been proved to be related to an increase of 17% in pipeline corrosion failure leaks in the area of one international study in which I was involved).

A simple demonstration of scientific facts

The following demonstration is a good introduction to the subject of this seminar. It shows how corrosion works and how it is measured. I will set it up now and you will see visible corrosion products after three hours to confirm the theory of cathodic protection and the way we are making the measurements.

I will explain and demonstrate how the understanding of scientists was not transferred successfully to those who are trying to control corrosion in the field.

There are five corrosion cells in this picture.

Why five corrosion cells?

The dry cell battery is four corrosion cells in series.

Each of these four has an Electro Motive Force (EMF) of about 1.5 volts. The potential difference between the + and – pole of the whole battery is over 6 volts. The 5th corrosion cell is between the nail on the left of the demonstration and the nail on the right.

This demonstration shows

  • How we measure DC electricity.

  • That the meter sets zero for each measurement.

  • That all measurements are between two variable potentials.

  • That the passage of electrical energy can be measured as it passes through the electrolyte (the ground).

  • That a copper/copper-sulphate electrode is not a reference potential in traditional cathodic protection measurements.

    Copper/copper-sulphate electrode is NOT a reference potential when used in this way

    Visible corrosion

  • After two hours we will see predictable visible corrosion.

  • We can measure this dynamically as it happens.

  • We will see Faradays Laws in action.

  • We will see ‘interference’ and ‘stray current’ corrosion and measure it as it happens.

  • Visible corrosion products.

    Science is not being applied in the field

    The result of the present misunderstanding is that pipelines are leaking unnecessarily all over the world. It is therefore essential to be clear about the measurement we are making at present and the measurement that is required by all scientists.

    That is why this seminar is best attended by academics and field workers who can confirm all of the content. It is why the policy makers must be clear about the advice they are given and the effect of the decisions they make.