Introducing Cathodic Protection – 7 Cathodic Protection Myths Exploded

Introducing Cathodic Protection – 7 Cathodic Protection Myths Exploded

Breaking through to realities of cathodic protection

As we’ve described in our previous two articles an introduction to cathodic protection – discussing electrochemical corrosion and how cathodic protection works – cathodic protection is a highly effective method to prevent corrosion. It is used in multiple industries and environments, and without it the cost of corrosion on society, the economy and the environment would be far worse.

In this final article in the series, we dismantle seven common myths about cathodic protection.

Cathodic Protection Myth #1: Cathodic protection protects the whole structure, even if some of it is above the ground.

Reality – There is NO effect at all on the atmospheric corrosion of the piles, columns and beams above ground.

Cathodic Protection Myth #2: Cathodic protection on ONE side of a vessel (pipe/tank/lock gate) can protect both the inside and outside of the structure.

Reality – There is NO effect on corrosion on the other side of the vessel, unless there are holes that allow some cathodic protection current to flow in a common electrolyte from one side to the other.

Cathodic Protection Myth #3: If a buried pipeline is suffering from AC corrosion (AC induced from power transmission lines) it needs more CP to protect it.

Reality – NO! Don’t do it! NO! AC corrosion is complex, and an increased cathodic protection current density and more negative pipe/soil potentials will only enhance the risk of AC corrosion.

Cathodic Protection Myth #4: If I reverse the polarity of my impressed current cathodic protection system, I can pass more current. This must be better.

Reality – This has been done and proved to be incorrect. The structure supposedly being protected becomes the anode, and is consumed at around 10kg per amp per year. Entire sections of pipelines have been destroyed in this way.

Cathodic Protection Myth #5: You can reverse the current with a galvanic anode system.

Reality – In normal situations this is NOT possible. At elevated temperature there can be a reversal between zinc anodes and steel, but only if there are no chlorides present.

Cathodic Protection Myth #6: Galvanic anode CP systems are fit and forget.

Reality – If only this were true! All cathodic protection requires inspection and testing to determine if it is still functional and effective.

Cathodic Protection Myth #7: Galvanic anodes can only deliver a short design life.

Reality – It is normal for offshore structures to be well protected from immersed corrosion for more than 30 years by using aluminium alloy anodes. The early BP Forties platforms in the deep northern North Sea were protected for 40 years with a combination of coatings and large zinc anodes.

The challenges of using cathodic protection

Cathodic protection is used extensively to protect critical infrastructure from corrosion. Common uses include:

  • Oil and gas pipelines
  • Oil and gas storage facilities
  • Offshore oil, gas and renewable energy structures
  • Ships
  • Reinforced concrete in bridges and other structures

However, cathodic protection is a specialised area, requiring application of corrosion science, electrochemistry, electrical engineering, metallurgy, and, often, structural and mechanical engineering.

The standards (BS EN and BS EN ISOs), that cathodic protection professionals must work to, all make it clear that cathodic protection design must be undertaken by cathodic protection specialists who have a documented and appropriate level of competence.

BS EN ISO 15257 details the competencies that are required in all sectors of cathodic protection (buried, marine, steel-in-concrete, and internal). This standard also details the work that should be undertaken by cathodic protection Data Collectors or Testers, Technicians, Senior Technicians and Specialists or Engineers. Only personnel with appropriate levels of training, experience and competence can undertake work associated with cathodic protection:

  • Surveys
  • Designs
  • Installation
  • Testing
  • Commissioning
  • Performance assessment
  • Maintenance

In the UK, certification in accordance with ISO 15257 is increasingly required. 

Here’s one final myth that must be exploded:

Bonus Cathodic Protection Myth: There are graduate and postgraduate courses in cathodic protection engineering.

Reality – No, there aren’t! So how do you get the training and certification you need, either for your employees or as an independent cathodic protection specialist?

Breaking the catch 22 in cathodic protection training

It sounds like something of a catch 22, doesn’t it? You must be certified to work with cathodic protection engineering, but there are no specialist courses for graduates or postgraduates. Consequently, specialists may start with a degree in science or engineering – or perhaps an apprenticeship – and then take advantage of specialist training. The Institute of Corrosion offers both courses and certification in cathodic protection.

Our cathodic protection courses are perfect for companies that need their staff trained and certificated in cathodic protection, for independent specialists, and for managers who want a better understanding of what their employees and contractors in cathodic protection should be doing.

These courses provide all the training required (levels 1 to 3) by cathodic protection data collectors, technicians and senior technicians in the sectors of buried, marine, and steel-in-concrete cathodic protection.

In addition, we offer independent assessment of competence as defined in BS EN ISO 15257.

If you are a cathodic protection company or an independent cathodic protection specialist, training and certification from the Institute of Corrosion provides recognition of training, knowledge, skills, experience and expertise that is valid internationally. As the industry continues to become more regulated and standards-led, this recognition will enhance your reputation and work opportunities.

To learn more about our range of cathodic protection training courses and the experience and qualifications needed for certification, please visit our pages detailing the Cathodic Protection, Training, Assessment and Certification Scheme.

Branch News – Aberdeen Branch

Branch News – Aberdeen Branch

Pictured: Adam Lea-Bischinger, CEng CMgr MEng CMRP Eur Ing, Snr. Consultant with Fokus – Reliability and a Specialist in Asset Management and Performance Improvement.

The branch held its 7th event of the 2019/2020 session, on 27 April. This was the first of 5 technical presentations of the annual joint Institute of Corrosion/MCF (Marine Corrosion Forum) programme, held Online this year over 5 days, due to the COVID crisis. The heavily over-subscribed webinar was jointly chaired by Phil Dent (MCF) and Stephen Tate (ICorr-ABZ) with Lewis Barton (MCF) as webinar manager and with Dr Yunnan Gao (ICorr-ABZ) and Institute of Corrosion HQ jointly promoting.

The branch was very pleased to host Adam Lea-Bischinger, a Snr. Consultant with Fokus – Reliability, who currently holds several roles in Aberdeen including, Branch Chair of IAM – Institute of Asset Management, online course tutor in Asset Management for the University of Aberdeen, and Snr. Advisor to the Board of Pavan Asset Value Managers.

Adam has 15 year’s experience working in maintenance, reliability, asset management and inspection covering major oil and gas, power, mining and infrastructure projects worldwide, and holds a masters degree in Engineering, Materials and Corrosion with post graduate training in Inspection and NDT.

Adam spoke enthusiastically on asset management and how it can deliver value to an organisation. He carefully described the six core elements of asset management, the work of IAM, and the development and roll-out of ISO 55000:2014 which defines terminology, requirements and guidance for implementing, maintaining and improving an effective asset management system, and gave examples of UK and overseas companies operating the ISO 55000 system, including many utilities, major transport operators and drilling companies, who all having significant investments to protect and maintain for their full life-cycle.

The now established standard has three key parts:
ISO 55000 – Asset Management – Overview, Principles and Terminology
ISO 55001 – Asset Management – Management systems – Requirements
ISO 55002 – Asset Management – Management systems – Guidelines for the application of ISO 55001

According to the IAM, “These three international standards are important not only for their content, but because they represent a global consensus on what asset management is and what it can do to increase value generated by all organizations.”

The conceptual model, developed by IAM to show the core elements of the ISO 55000 series standard containing six main groups and thirty nine subjects is detailed below:

• Strategy & Planning
  • Asset Management 
• Demand Analysis
  • Strategic Planning
  • Asset Management 

• Organisation & People  • Procurement & Supply 
 Chain Management  
• Asset Management 
• Organisational 
• Organisational Culture
  • Competence 

• Asset Information
  • Asset Information 
• Asset Information 
  • Asset Information 
• Data & Information 

• Decision Making  
• Capital Investment 
 Decision Making
  • Operations & 
 Maintenance Decision 
• Lifecycle Value 
• Resourcing Strategy
  • Shutdown/Outage 

• Lifecycle Delivery  
• Technical Standards
  • Asset Creation/
  • Systems Engineering  
• Configuration 
  • Maintenance Delivery
  • Reliability Engineering
  • Asset Operations  
• Resource 
  • Shutdown/Outage 
  • Fault & Incident 
• Asset Disposal

• Risk & Review
• Risk Management  
• Contingency Planing  
• Sustainable 
• Management of 
• Asset Health Monitoring  
• AM System Monitoring  
• Management Review
  • Asset Costing & 
  • Stakeholder 

The importance of team-working and good communication was heavily stressed, so as to achieve good LOF – Life of Field Design, and to avoid the too often prevailing SILO (compartmentalised) type mentality within organisations.

An extensive Q&A followed with questions on topics such as the use of ‘Hands-Free’ asset management software, conditioning monitoring, cyber security threats from wireless devices, and the management of ‘Late Life’ assets. Various aspects of implementation of ISO 55000 guidance were also discussed and highlighted global differences in asset management methods and regulation.
Following from the success of the April webinar with MCF which had an attendance exceeding 70 on all 5 days, it is now planned that the Institute of Corrosion will work together with MCF to continue the close co-operation now established, for its July meeting, in Birmingham, with webinars running between 6-10 July 2020, as the resumption of ‘Face to Face’ meetings is not being expected before that date.

On the 29th April, members of the Aberdeen Branch also participated in the online CED Working Day and Symposium on ‘Corrosion Control in Transport and Infrastructure’, with Alistair Seton of the Aberdeen Committee chairing the Oil and Gas Working Group.

There has been much debate of late concerning the impacts of the coronavirus outbreak, but both the Institute of Corrosion/MCF Webinars and the CED Online event, has proven beyond doubt that such obstacles can be overcome and that the demand for corrosion learning by whatever method, is as strong as ever.

As usual. full details of future branch events can be found on the ICorr Website, or by contacting: Copies of the majority of past branch presentations can be found at:, and a photo gallery for all Aberdeen events may be found at:

It should be noted that the planned Aberdeen event of Tuesday 23 June – ‘Industrial visit (Oceaneering), an Alternative / Interactive Industrial Event’, is currently postponed (awaiting Scottish Government instructions), with a new date to be advised, as soon as is possible.

Engineering Council Registrations – First CEng via SOE Registration Agreement

We have now recommenced receiving applications from our professional members, and Patrick Eyles of British Pipeline Agency is the first to go through the complete process and Professional Review Interview (by Zoom) successfully, and been confirmed by SOE Marking Panel. Congratulations Patrick.

Institute of Corrosion members, previously registered with EC through SEE, have now had their registrations transferred to SOE.

We are looking forward to a continuing successful agreement with SOE and registering more of our members with the Engineering Council.
David Harvey, EC Registration Co-ordinator.

Corrosion Engineering Division (CED)

Corrosion Engineering Division (CED)

Working Day, Wednesday 29 April 2020
This one-day meeting was the latest in a series of working days held by the Corrosion Engineering Division. This year’s meeting had the theme of ‘Corrosion Control in Transport and Infrastructure’. Originally, it was planned that the meeting would be held at the fascinating conference venue at the National Railway Museum, York. However, due to the coronavirus lockdown, it was no longer possible to go ahead with a physical meeting and so the division held the meeting on-line using the Zoom platform (set up by the Institute), for the first ever on-line Institute of Corrosion symposium. The meeting was joined by ~60 corrosion engineers from around the world who had pre-registered for the meeting, including from India and New Zealand, despite the time zone differences. Nick Smart (Jacobs) chaired the meeting, which followed the published agenda and timetable. After the technical talks, the meeting divided into individual CED working groups, using the Zoom breakout room facility.

The first talk was given by Phillip Watkinson (Corrocoat) who presented ‘Fascinating Uses of Heavy Duty Glassflake Coatings in Transport Applications’. Phillip described the technical background to glass flake coatings and how they have developed over the years, initially from crude trowel- or brush-applied coatings, using predominantly polyester resins, through to spray-applied coatings using epoxy formulations, that can now be easily sprayed internally on pipes with diameters ranging from 50 mm to over 1 metre. Modern coatings can also be applied using an aerosol method. The methods for producing glass flake have evolved so that now it is possible to have close control over the thickness of the flake used (±1 µm) and to minimise the curvature in the glass flakes. Phillip highlighted the many desirable properties of glass flake coatings and illustrated their application in various industries, including their use on train axles, train air brakes, dip tanks for applying coatings to car bodies and a propeller shaft.

Chris Atkins (Mott MacDonald), presented the second talk entitled ‘Innovations in Preserving Transport Infrastructure’. This presentation focused on the ‘embodied energy’ concept of building materials, which can be applied when considering the amount of energy that is consumed in producing a range of building materials. It is important to take account of this factor in relation to achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by mid-century. By applying the ISO definitions of environmental conditions (ISO 9223) and the decrease in corrosion rate with time (ISO 9224), the approach taken is to evaluate the energy lost in allowing corrosion to take place for steel or galvanised steel, with coatings reapplied every 15 years over the life of a structure. By analysing the predicted energy consumption involved, it is possible to determine the relative energy efficiencies of various coating strategies, such as galvanising, depending on the corrosivity of the environment, the energy consumed in producing the initial material, and the availability of recycling facilities.

Steve Paterson (Arbeadie Consultants, 2019 Paul McIntyre award winner) presented the third talk on ‘Managing Corrosion in Ageing Offshore Infrastructures’. This talk summarised the background to the operation of existing North Sea offshore facilities beyond their original design life, with some structures predicted to be operating for 45 years or more. This can be compared with the operation of the Forth Rail bridge which was originally opened in 1890 and it still going strong because of ongoing maintenance regimes. The various considerations for extending the lifetimes of offshore installations were reviewed and the current guidance available from the Energy Institute was highlighted. Steve summarised the various ageing mechanisms that need to be considered in assessing future lifetimes and the following mechanisms were recognised as key current primary threats to facilities/pipelines: fabric degradation – external corrosion, corrosion under insulation, microbial corrosion, sand erosion and preferential weld corrosion. These corrosion issues were illustrated with a number of examples taken from field operations, followed by a discussion of future challenges, not least of which is the possible closure of facilities due to the current Covid-19 pandemic and the retention of the necessary technical skills within the workforce.

Turning from the oil and gas industry to the nuclear industry, Cliff Harris and Clive Harrison (both Jacobs) presented a talk entitled ‘Corrosion Monitoring of Dry Fuel Storage Containers in Nuclear Facilities’, which focused on the corrosion aspects of dry storage of spent nuclear fuel removed from the Pressurised Water Reactor (PWR) at Sizewell. Spent nuclear fuel is moved from initial wet storage in ponds at the power station and placed into purpose-built dry storage facilities, because there is currently no geological disposal facility (GDF) available within the UK. The fuel is placed into a stainless steel multi-purpose canister (MPC), which is filled with inert gas, welded shut and then placed into a steel and concrete overpack. This system provides passive cooling through the use of convective air flow induced by the high operating temperature of the MPC, and has a planned storage life of up to 100 years. Corrosion studies have focussed on the possibility of atmospherically induced stress corrosion cracking due to the deposition of deliquescent sea salt particles. A corrosion evaluation test programme has involved the use of environmental monitoring combined with the construction of a full-size, fully monitored, MPC corrosion simulator, backed up by laboratory test programmes of SCC susceptibility under a range of test conditions and a study of the deliquescence properties of various deposited salt analogues.

Before the lunch break, Gareth Hinds (ICorr president) gave a ‘virtual’ presentation of the 2020 Paul McIntyre Award to Professor Carmen Andrade, who was located in Madrid, Spain (see report below), highlighting her many achievements in the field of applied corrosion science and corrosion engineering. Following the presentation, Professor Andrade gave a brief illustrated summary of her activities during her career and expressed how honoured she felt to receive the award.

The final talk of the day was given by Pablo Merino (CLH Pipeline Systems) entitled ‘A New CP Approach on Non-Isolated and Aged Pipelines: A Case Study’. The talk was concerned with the corrosion protection of the very large pipeline systems, extending for 10s of km, that support the UK infrastructure, for example for distributing aviation fuel. The presentation covered a review of the various options for manging an oversaturated CP system, which used an impressed current cathodic protection system. Inspections had shown that the pipeline was not achieving the require BS EN 12954 criteria, and that the coating was deficient in a number of areas. The remediation options considered included electrical isolation, coating rehabilitation, upgrading the CP system, and changing the CP criteria to a less restrictive one. The last of these was the only feasible one, backed up by the use of an external corrosion monitoring system, based on an electrical resistance corrosion rate measurement technique.

The final talk was followed by a set of parallel working group meetings for all the CED working groups, namely nuclear, coatings, oil and gas, cathodic protection and corrosion in concrete. At the end of the afternoon, Nick Smart thanked all the participants and contributors, and so ended the first on-line CED meeting. He looked forward to holding the next CED working day meeting at the National Railway Museum next Spring, pandemic permitting! Copies of the presentations will be put in the members area of the ICorr web site, together, where possible, with recordings of the presentations that were given.

Paul McIntyre Award
The winner of this year’s Paul McIntyre Award is Carmen Andrade. The announcement was made during the on-line CED meeting on 29 April, at which she also gave a short presentation.
Until her retirement, Dr Carmen Andrade was a Research Professor at the Institute of Construction Sciences “Eduardo Torroja” of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), working in the field of concrete durability and reinforcement corrosion. At present she is visiting Research Professor at the International Centre for Numerical Methods in Engineering (CIMNE). She is the author of numerous papers, has been editor of several books, and has supervised around 30 PhD theses. She has received several awards, including the R. N. Whitney Prize 2013 by NACE, Robert L’Hermite Medal 1987 from RILEM, “Manuel Rocha” of the Presidency of Portugal, and the “ALCONPAT Prize” in recognition her distinguished career. She is an honorary doctor of the University of Trondheim (Norway) and of the University Alicante (Spain). She has participated in several standardisation committees at National, European and International level and has been President of several international organisations related to her specialty (UEAtc, RILEM, WFTAO and the Liaison Committee which brings together the Associations: CIB, FIB, IABSE, IASS, RILEM and ECCE). At present she is also the President of ALCONPAT, the Latin American Association of Control of Quality, Pathology and Recovery of Structures. She has been General Director of Technology Policy of the Ministry of Education and Science, and advisor to the Secretary of State for Universities in the Ministry of Science and Innovation, Spain.

European Corrosion Medal for ICorr Past-President

European Corrosion Medal for ICorr Past-President

Stuart Lyon, ICorr President between 2005 and 2007, and who continued afterwards as CEO of CORREX Ltd until 2012, has been awarded the European Corrosion Medal for 2020. This is the most prestigious honour of the European Federation of Corrosion (EFC) and recognises: “achievements by a scientist, or group of scientists, in the application of corrosion science in the widest sense”.

In a 35-year career at Manchester, Stuart has published over 200 papers, supervised over 60 PhD/MPhil research students and over 80 MSc and Undergraduate project students. He is a regular attendee of, and presenter at, EuroCorr, an organiser of EFC events (especially EuroCorr 2008 in Edinburgh) and active participant in EFC Working Parties – notably: WP4 (Nuclear Corrosion); WP6 (Surface Science & Mechanisms of Corrosion Protection); WP7 (Corrosion Education); WP8 (Physico-chemical Methods of Corrosion Testing); WP14 (Coatings). Since 2006 he has been 
Editor-in-Chief of “Corrosion Science Engineering and Technology” an IoM3/EFC journal.

Over his career, he has worked with the energy sector (nuclear core materials, radwaste containers, and hydrocarbon applications in upstream and downstream) and helped to set up research partnerships at Manchester with the UK nuclear industry (the Materials Performance Centre – MPC), BP (the International Centre for Advanced Materials – ICAM), EdF Energy, and Airbus. Since 2012, he has led a strategic research partnership for AkzoNobel’s global corrosion protective coatings business applying innovative analytical and microscopy techniques to the study of paints and paint performance.

Stuart, who is AkzoNobel Professor of Corrosion Control at the University of Manchester, was recognised by the EFC Award Jury for his: “wide contribution and significant research particularly in the fields of atmospheric corrosion, corrosion protection by organic coatings as well as corrosion inhibition using emerging and novel analytical techniques for advancing the fundamental understanding of corrosion mechanisms. He is widely recognised as a corrosion scientist with an international scientific reputation at an academic level who, at the same time, has made a strong impact on industrial applications in corrosion and corrosion protection”.

Previous winners from the UK include Graham Wood (who established Manchester as a world-wide centre of excellence in corrosion research) in 1999 and Redvers Parkins in 1996. Graham and Redvers were also Past-Presidents of the Institution of Corrosion Science and Technology, the predecessor body of ICorr.

The presentation of the EFC Corrosion Medal Award Ceremony will be held in conjunction with the EUROCORR 2020 meeting, and will be followed by an acceptance address by Stuart.