Protecting underground pipelines from corrosion in sub-zero environments

October 1, 2013

Northern Canada's permafrost and semi-permafrost environment is a huge challenge for designing and engineering underground pipelines, and a critical aspect of protecting both the pipeline and this sensitive environment involves the design of an effective corrosion protection system.

One of the most common methods to protect buried infrastructure—such as oil and gas transmission pipelines —from is the application of an external coating.

"Although great advances have been made within the past 30 years in terms of coatings reliability and longevity, it's still desirable to implement a back-up plan: cathodic protection," says Paul Duchesne, manager of media relations for Natural Resources Canada.

What is cathodic protection? It's a method used to protect buried pipelines from corrosion, which involves attaching sacrificial anodes to a 's coated steel. Sacrificial anodes are more electrically active than steel, so corrosive currents exit through the anodes rather than the steel.

Since the implications of partially frozen ground on a pipeline's cathodic protection system weren't entirely clear, Natural Resources Canada researchers decided to explore and evaluate the use of cathodic protection in permafrost regions.

In a paper published in Corrosion journal, the researchers explain how cathodic protection systems function at low temperature and describe the various aspects of cathodic protection application in sub-zero temperatures.

The researchers concluded that the application of cathodic protection systems may provide long-term protection of the infrastructure from corrosion when combined with high-performance coatings—as long as the system is designed and operated to overcome high electrical resistance frozen phases.

"Ultimately, we hope that our research will contribute to the safe and reliable operation of underground infrastructure such as oil and gas transmission pipelines, production facilities, and storage tanks," says Duchesne.

Explore further: Deep sea pipelines to green gas production

More information: The paper, "Applicability of Cathodic Protection for Underground Infrastructures Operating at Sub-Zero Temperatures," by Sankara Papavinasam, Tharani Pannerselvam, and Alex Doiron, appears in NACE International's journal, Corrosion, Sep. 2013, Vol. 69, No. 9, pp. 936-945. See: dx.doi.org/10.5006/0881

Related Stories

Deep sea pipelines to green gas production

October 10, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- University of Queensland researchers are working to tap into a wealth of natural gas resources located in distant, deep-ocean fields off the coast of Western Australia.

Graphene is thinnest known anti-corrosion coating

February 22, 2012

New research has established the "miracle material" called graphene as the world's thinnest known coating for protecting metals against corrosion. Their study on this potential new use of graphene appears in ACS Nano.

Corrosion protection for metal artifacts

August 30, 2012

The Mediterranean region is home to numerous museums and historical sites housing metal objects that provide an invaluable window into the past. EU funding enabled development of state-of-the-art corrosion protection and ...

Fitness test for corrosion protection coatings

July 1, 2013

Internal coatings in the different sections of oil treatment plants are subjected to a variety of stresses. By conducting comparative tests, researchers are analyzing which materials are best suited to each individual section.

'Poisoning' corrosion brings stainless magnesium closer

August 19, 2013

(Phys.org) —In a discovery that could have major implications for the aerospace, automotive and electronics industries, scientists have found a way to dramatically reduce the corrosion rate of lightweight wonder metal magnesium: ...

Recommended for you

Video privacy software lets you select what others can see

June 28, 2016

Camera-equipped smartphones, laptops and other devices make it possible to share ideas and images with anyone, anywhere, often in real-time. But in our cameras-everywhere culture, the risk of accidentally leaking sensitive ...

Mapping coal's decline and the renewables' rise

June 23, 2016

Even as coal-fired power plants across the U.S. are shutting down in response to new environmental regulations and policy mandates, defenders of the emissions-heavy fuel still have cost on their side. Coal, after all, is ...

Electric racing car breaks world record

June 23, 2016

The Formula Student team at the Academic Motorsports Club Zurich (AMZ) accomplished its mission today: the grimsel electric racing car accelerated from 0 to 100 km/h in just 1.513 seconds and set a new world record. It reached ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.