Stray current refers to the current that flows elsewhere rather than along the intended current path. It is an important cause of corrosion and leakage of underground metal pipelines . Stray current corrosion is essentially electrochemical corrosion. Because of the high electrical conductivity of buried steel pipelines, potential differences with the less conductive environment are formed when stray current flows through the pipe effectively creating a corrosion cell. The corrosion caused by stray current is more serious than soil corrosion under normal conditions. The stray current has a great effect on corrosion, and so affects the service life and safe use of buried pipelines. Therefore, it is important to mitigate stray current corrosion.
Identification and measurement of DC stray currents should include the following:
Sacrificial Anodes Or Bonds
Sacrificial or galvanic anodes may be used to mitigate stray current effects in situations where small current flows or small voltage gradients exist. In effect, a potential gradient field produced by the galvanic anode(s) counteracts the interference current. The effect is a net current flow to the interfered with structure.
Another consideration when using a galvanic anode system to overcome stray currents is the expected life of the anodes. As the anodes dissipate, their resistance to ground increases. The increased resistance reduces the current flow from the anode and decreases the resulting voltage gradients. Sacrificial anodes should be sized to provide a sufficient anticipated life span. As with any other stray current mitigation procedure, the anodes should be placed on an active monitoring schedule.
Galvanic anode drains are commonly used in lieu of bonds where small drain currents are involved. In areas of large current drains, the use of galvanic anode drains would be impractical due to the high consumption rate of the anode material; frequent anode replacement would be required. Galvanic anodes would also be impracticable where voltage gradients are encountered that are greater than those galvanic anodes can produce.
AC Interference Corrosion
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