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Cathodic protection system for reinforced concrete structures

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Increasing the lifespan of concrete

Steel reinforced concrete is widely used in both residential and industrial construction. Yet, corrosion of steel reinforcement often causes spalling and cracking of the concrete. This kind of corrosion damage not only leads to expensive repairs, it also diminishes structural integrity. In order to eliminate the need for constant repairs and to enhance a building's longevity, a new type of cathodic protection system that comprises cost-effective and replaceable anodes has been developed for use by the construction industry.

Industrial Technologies

Reinforced concrete is exposed to corrosive factors such as water, oxygen and chlorides that negatively affect the steel reinforcements. Once corrosion sets in, the steel expands and causes concrete cracking and spalling. One method of combating this corrosion is through cathodic protection (CP). Cathodic protection systems utilise electrochemical methods to minimise and control corrosion. Key elements of such systems are anodes, which are the terminals or electrodes from which electrons leave a system. Yet, despite all the inherent advantages, CP systems have not been widely adopted by the construction industry due to the fact that traditional anodes are expensive and hard to install and maintain. Fortunately, a consortium of Danish, Norwegian, and Irish professionals created an innovative cathodic protection system that exhibits cost-effective and practical features. It is not expensive to install and it is also easy to replace in old and new concrete structures. The system utilises a new, pulsed power supply whose pulsing leads to a significant reduction in the number of anodes needed within a concrete structure. The consortium also designed novel anodes that are removable and replaceable, and are placed in pockets of the new concrete structure. Furthermore, the anodes are coupled to the concrete via a non-toxic, ionic conductive, acid resistant gel. The consortium hopes that this new cathodic protection system and its accompanying anodes will revolutionise the construction industry and lead to improved reinforced concrete methods.

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