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Cathodic protection in hazardous areas

Cathodic protection is a critical tool in combatting the ever-growing risk of corrosion in critical infrastructure.

However, when being used in hazardous environments, it can pose a significant danger of explosions if it is not implemented correctly since it involves introducing voltages and currents to volatile environments.

Cathodic protection specialist to present at Australasian Corrosion and Prevention conference 

For steel structures, like pipes, tanks and bridges, it is common for cathodic protection (CP) systems to be used to protect assets from corrosion. 

However, what extra considerations must be made when the assets in needs of protection are in hazardous locations? 

Corrosion is a natural process where metals are gradually degraded and destroyed by chemical and electrochemical reactions with their environment. 

Galvanic and impressed current CP systems are used to control the corrosion of steel in structures and involve voltages and currents being introduced into the structures. 

Occasionally, these structures are situated in hazardous environments where there are explosive liquids and gases, creating a risk of an explosion occurring if electrical voltages and currents are not managed carefully.

“It’s clear that using galvanic or impressed current CP systems in hazardous areas needs to be handled carefully,” explained David Celine, managing director of Omniflex. “The approach required to manage this must be well-documented and systematic, detailing all electrical circuits and materials present, to comply with regulations and standards.

“There are international standards governing the installation and use of electrical equipment in hazardous areas, which all equipment located in hazardous areas must comply with. Unfortunately, these standards don’t specifically discuss CP systems in hazardous areas. This perpetuates a lack of understanding within the corrosion industry on how to quantify the dangers presented, and how to mitigate these dangers in accordance with the requirements of the standards.

“The aim of my presentation is to provide an overview of hazardous areas and address the impacts this has on the design of CP systems referencing real-life examples.”

Corrosion and Prevention is an annual event and is the largest conference on corrosion and mitigation in the Southern Hemisphere. This year’s event will be wholly online. Registration is now open, with ACA members able to register for the event free of charge.

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