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Electric currents that run through buried pipelines take source from different phenomena as:
- Electrochemical potential of different material connected together
- Induction of an electric line that is installed near the pipeline
Electric currents destroy anode. Cathodic protection consist to ensure that the steel of which is made the pipeline will be at a potential so that it will be a cathode at every time and all over its length.
Two prior measures are taken:
- Limitation of currents running lengthways by using electric insulating fittings
- Limitation of currents running through ground by coating the pipe
Then insulated parts of piping are transformed in cathodes.
For passive protection, an anode made in a metallic material with a higher electrochemical potential is buried near the pipeline. This anode is wired to the pipe. It makes up a battery where the pipe is a cathode.
For active protection, an electric supply is connected with negative pole wired to the pipe and positive pole wired to ground.