Anodes, commonly referred to as sacrificial anodes have been used for a variety of purposes over the years from constructing industrial buildings to building boats. They are made out of specialized materials and offer a rust resistant quality that is required for most pipes that are exposed to water. Without anodes, underground and underwater piping would be eaten away and deteriorate much faster than ever before.
Where Can You Find Anodes?
If you’re curious as to where anodes are used, you can typically find them on ships, boilers, in pipelines that are underground, on hot water heaters, and they are also put on steel structures that are typically submersed in water for long periods of time. Also, anodes can be useful for structures that are in damp soil, which could lead to corrosion.
What is Corrosion?
As mentioned, anodes are responsible for preventing the corrosion of metals. The process of corrosion occurs when electrolytic action moves through moisture or a specific type of fluid and lands on a metal surface. It essentially makes its home on the metal and puts the entire structure at risk. Another common name for corrosion is rust, the deep orange colour deteriorating metal that you might find on vehicles or other metals that are exposed to the weather.
Can Anodes Rust?
One of the main reasons as to why people use anodes in the first place is because they are far less likely to rust than generic exposed metal fixtures, though that doesn’t mean that they are entirely rust resistant. There is a special protective coating added to the anodes that is designed to help prevent further corrosion. Depending on the amount of protective coating that you add, the rate of anode corrosion will differ significantly. It will also depend on the chemical structure of the fluid the metal is exposed to as certain types of fluid can eat away at the coating faster than others.
Fresh and Saltwater Use
The reason as to why more companies rely on anodes to protect their metals from corroding over time is because they are safe to use in both fresh and saltwater applications. You will also find that the materials will last substantially longer than zinc, which was a mineral that was used in the past to protect metal against rusting. In fact, certain types anodes are the only materials that are entirely safe for both fresh and saltwater applications.
Finding the Right Anodes
Before you decide on a single type of anode to use for the job it’s important that you take all of their features into account and choose the right ones, otherwise you could experience far more corrosion than you could imagine. For example, using zinc anodes in saltwater would result in an insurmountable amount of rusting which would make any structure unsafe. Also, if you use certain types of anodes in lakes that have been affected by acid rain, corrosion could be a significant issue. Ensure that you research the different metals and the makeup of the liquid prior to installing anodes.