Comparison of Wireless Technologies for Remote Monitoring of Cathodic Protection Systems

Comparison of Wireless Technologies for Remote Monitoring of Cathodic Protection Systems

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COMPARISON OF WIRELESS TECHNOLOGIES FOR REMOTE MONITORING OF CATHODIC PROTECTION SYSTEMS Ashok Kumar and Larry D. Stephenson U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Engineer Research and Development Center Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, P. O. Box 9005, Champaign, IL 61826-9005 ABSTRACT Impressed current cathodic protection (CP) systems for water storage tanks must be periodically tested in order to ensure proper performance. Wireless remote monitoring technologies provide the ability to monitor CP system performance data from remote locations using modem-equipped personal computers. Data can be provided to a central location through an existing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems or through other wireless monitoring systems that can be installed economically. The technology provides capabilities to remotely monitor the cathodic protection system’s current and “instant-on” and “instant off potentials,” allowing allowed continuous monitoring of CP systems from a central location, and provide personnel with immediate warning of potential corrosion hazards. Case studies are presented for three Army Installations and one Air Force Installation, each with different approaches to remote monitoring of cathodic protection systems for potable water storage tanks and buried pipelines. The benefits of implementation of remote monitoring are the cost avoidance of traveling to remote sites to check each rectifier, and the added capability of instant notification of a malfunction in the cathodic protection system, thus increasing the life of the structures being protected. KEYWORDS: impressed current, cathodic protection, ceramic anodes, remote monitoring, SCADA 1
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INTRODUCTION Many Military Installations are spread over large areas and have many water storage tanks that use corrosion protection systems known as “cathodic protection (CP)” systems, which protect the internal or “water-side” of the tank. The outer surfaces of underground pipes, such as water, or gas distribution systems, also must be protected from corrosion in the soil using similar CP systems. In either case, CP systems need to be monitored in order to make sure that they are providing enough voltage and current to maintain the cathodic protection. Impressed current CP systems work by connecting an anode to the structure, and applying a negative potential to the structure and a positive potential to the anode through a current from an external source, controlled by a rectifier. In recent years, ceramic-coated anodes, usually made by depositing mixed metal oxides onto titanium substrates, have been used as an alternative to the silicon-iron and graphite anodes. The ceramic anode makes corrosion protection available at much less than the life cycle cost of previous technologies and in a size-reduction that permits installation in areas previously too small.
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Comparison of Wireless Technologies for Remote Monitoring of Cathodic Protection Systems

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