Zinc Ribbon Anode

Definition - What does Zinc Ribbon Anode mean?

A zinc ribbon anode, as its name implies, is a thin, wire-like strip of zinc metal used to provide passive cathodic protection (CP) for underground, coated pipelines. This system is ideal for unattended applications, where impressed current cathodic protection (ICCP) systems or constant monitoring is not feasible. Zinc ribbon anodes work by sacrificing themselves to protect the metallic pipeline to which they are attached.

Zinc, being a sacrificing element in zinc ribbon anodes, contributes to a very simple, cost-effective and maintenance-free corrosion control method for buried or immersed metals such as iron, steel, aluminum or copper.

Corrosionpedia explains Zinc Ribbon Anode

Zinc ribbon anodes are installed alongside buried pipelines. Their effectiveness is due mainly to their length. Because they are installed along the length of the pipeline, they generate enough passive current to protect lengthy structures. Ribbons are also ideal in areas where external rectifiers are prohibited for impressed current systems.

Conventional anodes, on the other hand, must be installed at regular intervals to be effective. Passive current anodes can become impractical for long pipeline lengths.

Zinc ribbon anodes are especially useful:

  • Where human intervention is limited or for isolated locations (e.g., intrastate or interstate pipelines)
  • Where other cathodic protection (CP) systems require monitoring and frequent maintenance
  • Where an external power source are not possible (e.g., locations where equipment is battery or solar powered)

Zinc ribbon anodes are used in a variety of applications, including:

  • Simple and cost-effective solutions that provide cathodic protection to underground petroleum, water or sewage pipelines
  • When the effect of an AC current on pipelines must be minimized
  • As sacrificial cathodic protection on the bottom portion of storage tanks built above ground
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