Sacrificial anodes for home applications?

  TopCat® 01:21 31 Aug 07
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I was reading the manual for our boat's engine and came across the sacrificial anode bolted on above the propellor. This protects the submerged metal drive parts but erodes away over time in seawater and has to be replaced. click here

I was thinking that similar sacrificial anodes could be mounted on hot water boilers, say, to maybe extend their service life. Or on some earlier cars, perhaps, before the rust starts to appear!

Anyone got any thoughts on further domestic fittings or items that may benefit from this? Might help save us all a bob or two in the process! :o) TC.

  wiz-king 05:38 31 Aug 07

Once-upon-a-time, I was working on a boat called Mi Amigo that was used as a 'pirate ship' in the days before radio 1, the anodes had to be replaced every few weeks as they dissolved that fast - must have had something to do with the music.*grin*

It would not work unless you have your copper tank immersed in salt water !!!. These anodes rely on electrolytic action.

  namtas 09:12 31 Aug 07

Not a new idea, I had this system working to protect the pipework on a large central Heating ring 40 years ago, similar principle to click here

  laurie53 09:42 31 Aug 07

I've got a vague memory of something similar for cars, way back when.

  wee eddie 10:45 31 Aug 07

but similar in principle.

We have no salts dissolved in our water, here in Ayrshire, but a seem to remember that you lot down South can have considerable lime-scale problems.

When I lived in London we had a little piece of crude wire wool in the kettle which attracted the lime-scale and we'd beat out about once a month or so.

  jack 12:16 31 Aug 07

Not quite the same, but for lime scale are magnets.
I too am in the SE and lime is a problem with water coming from chalk aquifers.
I used to see in the weekend small ads wondrous gadgets to rid you of scale- and thought - Oh Yes!
another catch penny - until I saw the same on sale in B&Q.
Then I thought if they sell 'em there must be something it.
So I got myself a pair of magnets encapsulated in plastic moulding that fitted around the main water input.- Not only no scale anymore but what was there softens and faded away.
All to do with the altering the molecular structure of the salts so that it stays in suspension - I believe

  Chegs ®™ 12:55 31 Aug 07

I also recall a company supplied such devices for use on cars,but my father (a metallurgist by occupation)telling me they were a "waste of money" when I asked him about them.As he also had similar views on double-glazing,I never really trusted his opinions. :)

  VoG II 13:22 31 Aug 07

Aluminium protector rodes have been successfully used for over 30 years to protect against Type 1 pitting in copper hot water cylinders. A rod of pure aluminium is mechanically attached to the base of the cylinder to form a galvanic couple with the copper. Preferential corrosion of the more electronegative aluminium produces a flow of electrons onto the copper which suppresses the copper's electrochemical potential to below its pitting initialisation potential even in the presence of copper ions. After a few months in service a semi-protective film forms over the upper parts of the cylinder wall, thereby reducing the flow of copper ions into the water, and the protection of the aluminium rod is no longer needed.

  oresome 17:45 31 Aug 07

Sacrificial anodes for home applications?

I remember that Vauxhall used to make them in the 1960's. Unfortunately it involved sacrificing the majority of the car to save the tyres and upholstery.

  Forum Editor 18:00 31 Aug 07

sacrificial anodes have been used on copper water storage cylinders for many years. Nowadays their use isn't so common because the cylinders themselves are less frequently used - modern installations use Combi condensing boilers.

In a marine context anodes have been used for over 100 years, and were initially made of iron or zinc. Nowadays almost all marine anodes are made from Zinc/ aluminium/cadmium alloy.

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