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Facts About Impressed Current Cathodic Protection (ICCP)
The cathodic protection current of an Impressed Current Cathodic Protection (ICCP) system is obtained from an external source such as the local utility company which can impose a current sufficient to counteract the existing currents of the corrosion cell. The current is "impressed" on the corroding structure through the use of relatively inert anode materials.
Typically an impressed current cathodic protection system for a concrete structure will contain the following components.
DC Power source
Inert anode material
Wiring and conduit
The local utility is the most common source of external power for the system. This is of course AC current and must therefore be converted to DC current for use in the CP system. Rectifiers are available in a variety of sizes and types to satisfy the needs of all corrosion prevention situations.
Anode material in an ICCP system is a relatively inert material such as catalyzed titanium. By using relatively inert materials, anode consumption is minimized.
The anode is one of the most critical components of the system because it distributes protective current to the reinforcing steel. It is also the location of all anodic reactions in the system and will therefore eventually be consumed. It is desirable to use anode material with a long life expectancy which can be accurately predicted. Catalyzed titanium is such a material.
Selection of catalyzed titanium as the anode material will yield a life expectancy of more than 40 years for existing structures and more than 100 years for new structures.
After installation minimal maintenance is required to insure proper functioning of an ICCP system. This involves visual inspection and periodic monitoring of the voltage and current as well as insuring proper supply of DC current to the anode. During installation of the system it is common practice to imbed silver/silver chloride reference electrodes to facilitate routine monitoring.