Impact of Galvanic Anode Dissolution onMetal Trace Element Concentrations in Marine Waters

TitleImpact of Galvanic Anode Dissolution onMetal Trace Element Concentrations in Marine Waters
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2015
AuthorsDeborde, J, Refait, P, Bustamante, P, Caplat, C, Basuyaux, O, Grolleau, AM, Mahaut, M-L
Journalwater, air & soil pollution
Date Published11/2015
Keywordsaluminium, galvanic anode, metal transfer, Seawater, Zinc

Submerged harbor steel structures often employ cathodic protection using galvanic anodes to guard against corrosion. A laboratory experiment, with three different cathodic protection configurations by galvanic aluminum-based anodes, was performed to evaluate the potential metal transfer from the anodic alloy dissolution into the surrounding marine water. The anode dissolution rate is proportional to the imposed current demands and induced a significant Al, In, and Zn transfer in the dissolved and particulate fractions of the corrosion product layers covering the anode surface. These layers were poorly adherent, even under low hydrodynamic conditions. Consequently, at the anode vicinity, the suspended particle matter and dissolved fraction of surrounding marine waters showed strong enrichments in Al and Zn, respectively, the values of which could potentially affect the adjacent biota. After the anode activation period, however, the metal inputs from galvanic anode dissolution are rapidly diluted by seawater renewal. At regional scale, these metal fluxes should be negligible compared to river and wastewater fluxes. These results also showed that it is difficult to assess the impact of the anode dissolution on the concentrations of metals in the natural environment, especially for metals included in trace amounts in the anode alloy (i.e., Cu, Fe, In, Mn, and Si) in the aquatic compartment.