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Innovative and sustainable corrosion management solution developed using battery powered remote monitoring for galvanic cathodic protection of steel in concrete   

 

When approached by a client, to provide a life extension solution for deteriorating concrete bridge piers, SegCorr Ltd suggested that a trial application of a new corrosion management system be implemented.

 

The proposed system, was based on a surface applied galvanic anode system, consisting of a zinc foil which is stuck to the concrete surface, connected to the embedded reinforcement and which dissolves to provide cathodic protection to the embedded reinforcement.

 

Due to a lack of AC power at the site, monitoring and assessment of the system using traditional AC powered equipment was not possible. SegCorr approached Omniflex to help with the development of a battery powered remote monitoring facility capable of the same functionality as existing Omniflex AC powered monitoring equipment.

 

Following the detailed design and specification, Advanced Corrosion Protection Materials (ACPM) supplied the Zinc Layer Anode (ZLA) and appointed Omniflex to undertake the design and development of the iGal web-based battery powered remote monitoring system. 

The Challenge

Historically galvanic anode system for steel in concrete have been promoted as a ‘fit and forget’ technology and were normally installed into structures which did not have a suitable AC power supply to enable remote monitoring.

 

Traditional monitoring required site operatives to attend site to undertake manual testing. Due to remote locations and time requirements, manual testing was rarely undertaken, the result was that, due to a lack of operational evidence of galvanic anode systems, the industry adopted a negative position on the use of galvanic cathodic protection for steel in concrete.

 

Where installed, historical monitoring equipment required dedicated software, hardware and dial-up modems to interrogate and extract data from the monitoring equipment. This led to clients having multiple software and software versions for each equipment supplier which was further complicated by compatibility issues with computer operating systems and IT policies.

The Solution

The ZLA system installed onto the bridge piers was designed to enable full system monitoring and performance assessment against the international standard for cathodic protection of steel in concrete BS EN ISO 12696.

 

The iGal unit developed by Omniflex was

  • completely battery powered, offering a maintenance free operation life of at least 3 years prior to battery renewal.

  • was provided with a dedicated SIM card for 3G or 4G communication to the control centre/ webpage

  • would automatically transmit data to control centre / webpage for client access without the need for additional hardware or software.

  • contained an on-site back-up SD data storage facility which would provide a data store and back-up of all monitoring data in CSV format.

The iGal units were specifically developed and designed to enable full compliance with the testing requirements listed in BS EN ISO 12696 which included:

Function check

  • measurement of ON and instant Off reference electrode potentials

  • measurement of anode to cathode current

Performance verification

  • remotely interrupt the anode to cathode current at a programmable date and time period for a programmable period while measuring reference electrode potentials

  • remotely reconnect the anode to cathode following test period and conduct a function check

 

Omniflex developed the Data2Desktop webpage/ control centre which provides a client interface facility, allowing direct client access to the monitoring data and adjustment of testing programs, via normal computer or mobile device browsers, without the need for any additional software or hardware.

The Result

The iGal units were deployed in August 2019 and configured to carry out a function check twice daily, a performance verification was instigated on the 19th & 20th September for a 24 hour period.

 

The iGal units completed all function check and performance monitoring activities as expected, the monitoring data proved that the ZLA system met the BS EN ISO 12696 criteria for full cathodic protection and provided additional insights into the effect of temperature on the performance of the ZLA system.

Conclusion

The development of the iGal equipment presents a significant advantage for clients, owners and operators of deteriorating structures, where galvanic cathodic protection is adopted and/or where there is no AC power.

 

Used in conjunction with the ZLA system the iGal equipment offers a significant advantage compared with manual monitored systems requiring onsite interrogation to evaluate system performance.

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