Category Archives: Linear Anodes

Rethink Your Shallow Horizontal Anode Bed Design – The Case For Linear Anodes

A common cathodic protection system approach is the use of a shallow horizontal anode bed. These are typically defined as an anode system consisting of a series of multiple individual anodes installed either vertically or horizontally at a depth of less than 15m (50ft) and connected to a single power source. These are particularly effective in areas where drilling deep anode beds is not feasible or practical.

The typical anode used in shallow anode bed applications is an impressed current anode. These can be high silicon cast iron, graphite anodes or mixed metal oxide tubular anodes.  The anodes may be pre-packaged in a canister filled with coke backfill, or they can be installed in a vertically drilled/augured hole or a continuous horizontal trench with backfill installed around the bare anode. The anodes can be installed in parallel to a common header cable or can have individual leads all routed to a cathodic protection junction box and connected in parallel inside the junction box.

Shallow Horizontal Groundbed-Individual Anodes
Shallow Horizontal Anode Bed with Individual Anodes

A New Approach: Continuous Linear Anodes

Another approach that is gaining acceptance in the corrosion industry is the use of a single continuous linear anode as an alternative to multiple individual discreet anodes that are field connected to form an anode bed.  There are several advantages to using a single continuous linear anode to create a shallow horizontal anode bed:

Shallow Horizontal Groundbed-Linear Anodes
Shallow Horizontal Anode Bed with a Single Linear Anode

Advantages of linear anodes for shallow horizontal anode beds

  • Ease of installation
    The use of a single continuous linear anode assembly can significantly reduce installation time by eliminating numerous field splice connections of multiple individual anodes to a header cable.
  • Reliability
    The entire linear anode assembly is factory manufactured and tested with internal factory connections that are more reliable than a field connection.  The assembly is designed with an internal header cable for redundancy and can be manufactured with an integral external return header cable, eliminating all field splicing and connections.
  • HDD Installation
    The use of a linear anode for shallow anode bed design allows for the use of HDD (horizontal directional drilling) to install the continuous anode assembly.  This can significantly minimize the installation footprint and greatly reduce installation time and costs.  This also allows for a deeper installation to facilitate locations where surface activities such as deep tilling farming operations might preclude a shallower anode system installation.
  • Cost Effectiveness
    The use of linear anodes can be extremely cost effective, resulting in a much lower cost installation. This is especially true when considering the overall cost per amp year given the longer design life of mixed metal oxide based linear anode systems.

MATCOR has extensive experience designing and installing shallow horizontal anode beds, including the use of our HDD installation crews and state-of-the-art equipment to minimize surface impact in sensitive areas.


Contact us at the link below to find out if a linear anode cathodic protection system is right for your application.

Contact a Corrosion Expert

MATCOR Introduces Linear Anode Color Coding

Linear Anode Color CodingEffective February 2020, MATCOR is revamping our SPL-FBR Linear Anode Product Line Offerings and introducing color coding for easy identification of different product ratings. Moving forward, MATCOR is eliminating the 16 mA/ft, 50 mA/ft, 150 mA/ft and 250 mA/ft from our standard offering.  All of our SPL-FBR anodes ratings are based on 25-year continuous operation. The new output ranges available will be color coded using different tracer wire coloring as shown in the chart below:

SPL-FBR Linear Anode Color Coding

CURRENT OUTPUT RATINGCOLOR CODE
25 mA/ftYellow
100 mA/ftWhite
200 mA/ftRed
400 mA/ftWhite and Red

MATCOR will continue to offer, for specific projects or applications, custom anode output ratings on an as needed basis.

MATCOR continues to be the world’s leading manufacturer of linear anode products, utilizing our patented Kynex® connection technology, and now with our new product color coding it will be easier for our clients to easily identify the current output of their linear anodes.


To get in touch with our team of cathodic protection and AC mitigation experts for more information, to ask a question or get a quote, please click below. We will respond by phone or email within 24 hours. For immediate assistance, please call +1-215-348-2974.

Contact a Corrosion Expert

Replaceable Anode System Success: A First for Critical Middle East Tank Assets

Last month, MATCOR successfully completed the first ever HDD tank cathodic protection system installation in the Middle East, utilizing a replaceable anode system.

Replaceable Anode System Installation

Background—Initial Recommendation for HDD Cathodic Protection System

Equate Petrochemicals is one of the world’s largest producers of Ethylene Glycol. They initially contacted MATCOR in 2012 to discuss options for cathodic protection on a critical service Ethylene storage tank at their flagship Kuwait petrochemical facility. This tank was originally constructed in 1995, and the initial CP system installed with the tank was no longer providing sufficient current to achieve NACE Criteria. At the time, MATCOR suggested installing anodes directly under the tank using horizontal directional drilling technology. The plant’s engineering and operations team had significant reservations about this approach. The tank was critical to the plant’s operation and could not be taken out of service. Should the HDD operations result in damage to the structural integrity of the tank, the results would be catastrophic.

Perimeter Anodes—An (Unsuccessful) Alternative Approach

As a result of Equate’s concerns in 2012, they attempted an alternate approach, suggested by others, using perimeter anodes. Discreet anodes were installed offset around the perimeter of the tank—thus avoiding any possible risk to the tank during the anode installation. The use of perimeter anodes around larger diameter tanks is generally not a good idea. This is because it is very difficult to drive current to the center area of the tank, often resulting in adequate protection levels only for the outer edges of the tank bottom. For the Ethylene Storage Tank, the presence of heating pipes below the tank bottom only exacerbated the current distribution challenges. Ultimately, the results were not satisfactory.

In 2018, the plant engineering team reached back out to MATCOR to discuss our HDD solutions.

Replaceable Anode System Solution

Replaceable Anode SystemMATCOR provided the plant with a detailed proposal to design and install a complete cathodic protection system using MATCOR’s Replaceable Tank Anode system. The RTA system is based on installing MATCOR SPL linear anode assemblies in a series of parallel slotted PVC pipes that have coke backfill pneumatically blown into the PVC pipe as part of the anode system installation. In addition to the linear anode segments and coke backfill, the slotted PVC pipes have a venting system to allow gases produced during the cathodic protection reaction to vent. This prevents gas buildup and blockage inside the PVC anode pipe.

Replaceable Anode System Installation Drawing

One of the key advantages of the RTA system is that once the PVC tubes are installed, it is possible to flush out the anode assemblies and coke backfill should the anode assemblies fail and/or they are at the end of their design life making this a replaceable anode system that will assure cathodic protection for the entire service life of the tank.

Additionally, a slotted Reference Cell Tube would be installed to allow for two calibrated fixed cathodic protection reference electrodes to be inserted for full polarized and non-polarized potential measurements across the entire tank bottom. This would allow for testing of the CP system with calibrated reference electrodes for the life of the tank.

Experienced HDD Installation—Assuring a Safe Installation

Horizontal Drilling Anode InstallationWhile the plant conceptually agreed with MATCOR’s solution from a technical perspective, there remained a significant concern within the plant’s operation and safety groups about drilling under this critical service tank and the possibility of a catastrophic event should the drill head drift up to the tank bottom. MATCOR put together a thorough installation procedure including detailed information on the sophisticated drill head tracking systems being utilized to assure that the drill head location was being continuously monitored throughout the bore. Utilizing an experienced local HDD drilling sub-contractor, MATCOR deputed its senior HDD installation drilling supervisor to Kuwait for the installation. Our Senior HDD Drilling Supervisor has completed hundreds of tank HDD installations in the United States and his on-site presence, along with the advanced electronic tracking package being used, assured that each bore went as planned.

Replaceable Anode System Installation Complete!

In December of 2019, MATCOR, working with our local Kuwaiti sub-contractor and the client’s engineering, construction and safety teams, successfully completed the installation of the replaceable anode system. The initial commissioning results showed that the anodes were installed properly. Each anode was distributing current as expected, and the polarization levels were meeting appropriate NACE criteria. The system has been left to operate and fully polarize. A subsequent visit by MATCOR’s technical team is scheduled in early 2020 to make final adjustments to the anode system current output and to confirm that the system continues to meet NACE criteria.

Conclusion

MATCOR’s successful installation in Kuwait of a horizontal directional bored CP system under an existing critical service tank is a first for the Middle East Region. The innovative MATCOR design, combined with the technical knowledge and operational expertise, makes this an interesting and viable option for other tank owner/operators worldwide to consider for their existing tanks with CP systems that are not performing properly.


To get in touch with our team of cathodic protection and AC mitigation experts for more information, to ask a question or get a quote, please click below. We will respond by phone or email within 24 hours. For immediate assistance, please call +1-215-348-2974.

Contact a Corrosion Expert

Have Extra 2019 Budget Monies?

MATCOR can help.

This is the time of year when thoughts turn to Thanksgiving and Christmas vacations, using up all your remaining vacation and wondering what to do with any leftover 2019 cathodic protection budget monies.  More than likely, it is too late to schedule and complete new projects.  MATCOR along with most of our competitors have full construction schedules and adding additional commitments is quite difficult.

So what to do with that leftover budget monies that may reset in 2020?  Many of our clients look to stock up on materials for their anticipated 2020 projects.  It is not too late get MATCOR’s Mitigator® Engineered AC Mitigation System, SPL™ Impressed Current Linear Anodes, Durammo® Deep Anode System, MMP™ Prepackaged MMO Canister Anodes and other ancillary materials into this year’s budget.

Click HERE to get in touch with your MATCOR account manager for more information, to ask a question or get a quote. Or, complete our contact form at the link below and we will respond by phone or email within 24 hours. For immediate assistance, please call +1-215-348-2974.

Contact a Corrosion Expert

 

MATCOR Ships Over a Half Million Feet of Linear Anodes to Africa

The richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote, undertakes $12B project including 153 ASTs

Chalfont, PA (April 2019) – MATCOR, Inc., the trusted full-service provider of proprietary cathodic protection products, systems, services and corrosion engineering solutions announced that it recently completed shipment of over 500,000 linear feet (150+ km) of its SPL™-FBR linear anode product along with other ancillary materials for 153 above ground storage tanks (ASTs) in Africa.

Tank anode system materials prepped for export at MATCOR’s Chalfont PA facility. Over 520 reels of anode material have been shipped to Nigeria.

The anodes, which will prevent tank bottom corrosion, are part of an ambitious refinery project undertaken by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man. The tanks are being erected on over 6,000 acres of swampland outside of Lagos, Nigeria.

MATCOR was selected for this project due to quick delivery and the company’s unique linear anode design, which does not require field splicing and saves significantly on installation time and costs.

“The ability to manufacture the large quantity of custom length linear anode segments in a very compressed time frame was key to meeting the tank contractor’s needs,” noted Ted Huck, Director of Manufacturing and Quality Assurance for MATCOR. “Our team handled a very complex order with a very tight delivery schedule while maintaining world class quality.”

Learn more about the project in our recent blog post.

About MATCOR

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CONTACT

Ted Huck
215-348-2974
Dana Baedke
Key Marketing Communications
844-545-3481, x700

Tank Anode Systems for the Richest Man in Africa

This month MATCOR will ship the final tank anode system assemblies for Africa’s most audacious industrial project. The project is being undertaken by Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, and when completed this $12 billion Dangote oil refinery could, according to a 2018 New York Times article, “transform Nigeria’s corrupt and underperforming petroleum industry. Planned as the world’s largest refinery…should process 650,000 barrels of crude oil daily.” With Nigeria poised to become the world’s third most populous nation by 2050 (surpassing the USA) and having Africa’s largest economy, this project is being touted as a milestone achievement in what many are dubbing the African Century.

tank anode system installation
MATCOR Field Engineer E.Gopal (yellow vest)
at Lagos site inspecting tank anode system installation

As part of this ambitious refinery project, a total of 153 above ground storage tanks for crude oil, refined and intermediary products up to 92m in diameter (300 ft) are being erected on the 6,180 acres of swampland just outside of Lagos, Nigeria. MATCOR’s innovative tank anode system technology using linear anodes was selected by the project’s EPC contractor, Engineer’s India Limited, as the design basis for the cathodic protection for the project’s above ground storage tanks. Working closely with both the owner’s Indian based engineering team and the EPC contractor, MATCOR was successful in identifying the key tank contractors that would be bidding the tank erection and supplying the cathodic protection systems as part of their specifications.

tank anode system installation on large crude oil tank foundation
Linear Anode being installed on large crude oil storage tank foundation

Ultimately, MATCOR was successful in securing contracts to provide the linear anodes for each of the three tank packages, one from a Chinese contractor and two from a UAE based contractor.

tank anode system materials
Tank anode system materials prepped for export at MATCOR’s Chalfont PA facility.
Over 520 reels of anode material have been shipped to Nigeria.

In total, MATCOR has supplied over 500,000 linear feet (150+ km) of our SPL™-FBR linear anode product along with other ancillary materials for the under tank cathodic protection systems over an 18-month period. With all the anodes having been manufactured in MATCOR’s ISO 9001 certified Chalfont PA facility, MATCOR continues to be the global leader in the manufacturing of impressed current linear anodes for above ground storage tank cathodic protection.


Have questions about tank corrosion protection, or need a quote for services or our tank anode system? Contact us at the link below.

CONTACT A CORROSION EXPERT

Anode Current Ratings and Soil Resistivity

We appreciate the question: “How does soil resistivity impact current rating.”  The short answer is that resistance has nothing to do with anode rating. Here is a more detailed response:

  1. Anode current rating – all anodes have a current rating based on how long they can be expected to operate at a given current rating.  All anodes have some defined expected life based on current output and time – so many Amp-Hours of service life.  For example a magnesium anode may have an expected consumption rate of 17 lb/Amp-year (7.8 kg/amp) so if a 17 lb anode is operated at 0.1 amps it would have a life of 10 years.  For MMO anodes, they too have an expected life.  For our linear anode rated at 51 mA/m it is important to know that that rating is actually 51 mA/m for 25 years.  So a 100m anode segment with this rating would have an expected life of 127.5 Amp-years.  If this anode were operated at 5.1 amps (full rated capacity) it would be expected to operate for 25 years.  IF it were operated at 2.55 amps (50% of rated capacity) it should last 50 years.  The anode life is generally linear.  Please note that resistance has nothing to do with the anode current rating – the anode current rating merely calculates the life of the anode as a function of how many amps for how long of time.
  2. Actual current output – just because you install an anode rated for 5.1 amps for 25 years (our 100m segment of 51 mA/m SPL-FBR) does not mean that the anode will output this amount of current.  It just means that at that current rating you can expect 25 years of life.  The anode is merely one component of the overall cathodic protection circuit.  The actual output of the anode is function of Ohms Law ( Voltage = Current * Resistance).  It would make sense to note that if the system Voltage were zero (the rectifier were turned off or disconnected) then the anode would not have any current output.  Likewise if the 100m anode segment were installed in a very low resistance environment and driven by a powerful rectifier, the current could be much higher than 5.1 amps which would result in a much shorter life.
  3. Why anode rating is important to the CP designer – the CP designer is tasked with protecting a specific structure for a given period of time (protect this pipeline for 30 years.)  The CP designer then calculates, based on actual testing or established guidelines, the amount of current that should be sufficient to achieve appropriate CP levels to protect the structure.  This results in an answer of some number X of amps required.  If the requirements are to protect the structure for Y number of years, then the anode life required is X * Y (# of amps times # of years).  This defines the minimum amount of anode life that is needed.
  4. The next question the CP designer must address, once it is determined how much current is needed, is how to design a system that will generate that amount of current.  Since Ohms Law dictates that Voltage = Current * Resistance (V=IR) then if we know that the Current = Voltage/Resistance (I=V/R.)  Thus the CP designer must understand how to calculate system resistance (R) and must provide sufficient driving force (V)  Several factors affect system resistance (R) including anode geometry – the longer an anode, the lower its resistance – which in many applications is a big benefit to the linear anode.  One of the great benefits of the linear anode is that because of its length, in most applications the soil resistivity plays a lesser role since the anode resistance to earth is generally low for a wide range of soil resistivities due to its length.  For extremely high resistance environments, linear anodes may be the best option since short anodes will not have a low enough resistance.
  5. There are other factors that go into CP design including current distribution and making sure sufficient current is being applied across the entire structure.

CP Design can be very complicated.  I hope that the above explanation is helpful, but if there is a specific application to evaluate, please contact us with the details.  We are also available, for a reasonable engineering fee, to develop and/or review CP system designs.

Ted Huck

VP, Technical Sales

Remediation Options for Aging Pipeline Coating Systems

A linear anode system may be an economical alternative to applying a new pipeline coating system or replacing aging pipelines.

by Ted Huck

Introduction: Addressing Aging Pipelines and Pipeline Coatings

aging pipeline coatingExternal corrosion is one of the significant threats facing pipeline operators worldwide. Historically, pipeline owners have employed a two-tiered approach towards mitigating corrosion risks. The primary defense against corrosion has been to apply a pipeline coating system that acts as a barrier, protecting the steel pipe from its environment. Cathodic protection is employed to supplement the coating system by providing protective current to the holidays or defects within the coating system. As with any aging structure, however, time takes its toll – for older pipelines this often results in an older coating system that starts to degrade in its primary function of protecting the pipeline from its environment.

This paper addresses the fundamental issue that many operators will face when evaluating their aging pipelines and pipeline coating systems. That issue is, quite simply, what is the best strategy to remediate an aging pipeline with deteriorating coating systems to maintain compliance with international standards for pipeline integrity. The options are to improve/upgrade the cathodic protection system, recoat the pipeline, or replace the pipeline. Each of these options will be discussed in detail and a decision matrix will be provided to facilitate the operator’s decision-making process.

Pipeline Coating Systems

Coating systems have been used on buried pipelines during the last hundred years and the technology continues to be the subject of significant research and innovation. Pipeline coating manufacturers are continually searching for better coatings to meet the varied needs of industry. Initially, the coatings were simple mixtures of crude pitches and solvents. These early bitumastic/asphaltic systems evolved into engineered coal tar enamel coating systems, which were prevalent into the 1960’s. The introduction of fusion-bonded epoxies (FBE) in the 1970’s quickly captured much of the pipeline market, although polyethylene, polypropylene and coal tar enamels are still used as well. The coatings industry continues to research and develop improved methods of providing more reliable and more economical coating systems.

When evaluating aging pipelines, coating condition is one of the critical issues that must be addressed. The coating provides the primary defense against corrosion and as the coating system ages and deteriorates, then the risks of corrosion increase exponentially. One of the challenges that must be addressed by pipeline owners is properly identifying the type and vintage of the coatings along a given pipeline. In many cases, different sections of pipeline may have different coating systems depending on the age of the pipeline and the standards in place at the time a section of pipe was installed.

Another critical consideration when evaluating aging pipeline coating systems is to identify whether the coating system fails shielding or non-shielding. Coating systems that fail in a non-shielding mode do not inhibit the flow of current making cathodic protection a viable alternative when considering how to remediate these lines. Other coating systems, principally tape coating systems, can fail in a manner that shields cathodic protection current and thus greatly reducing the possible remediation methods available.

Modern, over-the-line survey technologies have proven to be quite effective in evaluating coating quality and finding coating holidays. Technologies such as pipeline current mapping (PCM) which utilize a carrier signal transmitted along the pipeline with a receiver measuring the line attenuation along the pipeline length can accurately pinpoint areas of significant coating degradation even under concrete or asphalt. The information gathered using PCM in conjunction with pipe to soil close interval surveys (CIS) and direct current voltage gradient (DCVG) testing form the basis for identifying critical risk areas along aging pipelines. In-line inspection technologies using smart pigs also provide valuable data regarding coating quality.

Cathodic Protection

Pipeline coating systems are typically augmented by the application of cathodic protection. With a well-coated pipeline, cathodic protection can be economically applied to protect the coating holidays and defects by placing discreet anode beds that distribute current over long distances. In many cases ground beds can be located several kilometers apart and still provide sufficient current distribution to protect the entire pipeline. With some of today’s high technology factory applied coatings, the coating efficiencies are exceptionally high and the groundbed output requirements are very low. These discreet ground bed systems can either be deep anode ground beds or shallow ground beds located some distance off the pipeline.

Several issues must be considered when designing a cathodic protection system. These include coating quality, soil resistivity, available locations for electrical power, ground bed right of way issues, accessibility for maintenance, AC and DC stray current interference, and a host of additional issues. What is critical for aging pipelines is the regular evaluation of the effectiveness of the CP system. Frequently, as pipelines age and the coating quality begins to deteriorate, the CP systems are unable to provide sufficient current properly distributed to meet established cathodic protection criteria. In many cases, simply ramping up the output of the existing system or adding additional ground beds does not prove sufficient to address the problem.

Learn about soil resistivity testing.

Aging Pipeline Systems

Problem Identification

Aging pipeline systems with deteriorating coating systems suffer from poor current distribution and are characterized by areas of low potentials and exceedingly high levels of applied current density. The challenge with these pipeline systems is controlling current distribution to achieve the prescribed polarization levels consistent with international standards for adequate cathodic protection.

Figure 1 shows a deep well anode system with current output such that some areas are not meeting required off-potentials of -0.85 Volts to meet NACE criteria.

pipeline coating - insufficient cathodic protection

Initial Responses

The typical response to this problem is to increase the overall output of the deep well system (see Figure 2.) This generally does not alleviate the problems of not meeting the off-potential criteria and leads to over-polarizing the piping (potentials greater than -1.2 Volts.) This can result in coating disbondment further exacerbating the problem. The higher output current increases the ground bed’s consumption rate reducing operating life while raising operating costs appreciably. All this occurs without achieving the required levels of polarization to meet cathodic protection criteria.

pipeline coating - increased cathodic protection output

The next step that is taken to fix the cathodic protection current distribution problem is to add additional ground beds to reduce the distance between point sources. This too, proves to be an ineffective solution as the new ground bed provides only limited additional benefit (see Figure 3.)

pipeline coating - additional cathodic protection ground beds

Remediation Options

The problem cannot be economically resolved by the addition of an ever-increasing number of ground beds applying greater and greater amounts of additional current. The pipeline operator is then faced with a limited number of options: recoat the pipeline, replace the pipeline, or install a linear anode cathodic protection system.

Recoating/replacing is the only viable alternative for pipeline systems utilizing shielding type coatings such as tape wrap systems. Recoating costs typically run several hundred dollars per foot in open right of way areas and can be significantly more expensive in congested urban locations (these are ballpark numbers applicable to the United States and can vary significantly.) Recoating, when properly performed, can restore the pipeline coating system to an as new condition greatly extending the service life of the recoated section. The critical issue is to assure that the recoating is executed by an experienced coatings contractor with rigorous quality controls in place. Pipeline replacement is expensive and only performed when extensive third-party damage, significant corrosion or other extenuating circumstances warrant.

An economically attractive alternative to recoat/replace options is to utilize a linear anode configuration in lieu of point anode systems. This option is only viable when the coating system is non-shielding – this would include asphaltic and epoxy type coating systems. The application of a linear anode system typically costs between $20-30/foot in open right of way (again these are general price guidelines and can vary significantly.) In suburban or urban areas, horizontal directional drilling (HDD) can be an effective installation method with minimal surface disruptions. These linear anode systems eliminate the distribution problems experienced by point anode systems; they are in effect an infinite series of point anodes, which provide an optimum current distribution (see Figure 4.)

pipeline coating - linear anode system for optimum current distribution

In addition to confirming that the pipeline coating system is non-shielding and appropriate for the application of linear anodes, the linear anode system design must take into consideration the critical issue of voltage drop and its affect on current attenuation. Voltage drop can have a significant impact on DC power distribution to the linear anode system. Ideally, rectifiers would be located no further than half a mile to a mile apart, however, practical considerations including availability of AC power, right of way issues and other factors can force this to be extended further complicating the system design and affecting the installed cost.

While the design can be complicated by voltage drop considerations, one of the benefits of a linear anode system is that the power consumption is relatively low. Ground bed resistance, as determined by Dwight’s Equation, is significantly affected by anode length and this results in very low groundbed resistance values for linear anode systems relative to conventional ground beds. This makes the linear anode system much more suitable for low wattage power sources such as solar arrays and thermo-electric generators (TEG’s) than conventional ground beds whose wattage could be two or more times that of a linear anode system to achieve the same current discharge.

Conclusion

Aging pipeline systems with deteriorating coating systems present a difficult challenge to pipeline operators. The more the coating deteriorates, the more difficult it is to distribute current further away from the ground bed. The natural response to ramp up the ground bed output does an inadequate job of throwing current further but does result in increased current flow, higher current densities and over polarization near the ground bed further stressing the coating system. Adding additional ground beds also allows more current to be applied to the pipeline, but does not alleviate the current distribution issues. Ultimately, pipeline operators are faced with the choice of recoating/replacing the pipeline, or installing a linear anode system. The flowchart below (Figure 5) provides a decision matrix. Note that aging pipeline systems whose coating systems are determined to be in good condition through indirect and direct examination, require additional investigation to determine why criteria is not being achieved.

Aging pipeline coating decision matrix


For assistance with evaluating aging pipelines or installing linear anode cathodic protection systems, please CONTACT US.

Selecting the Correct Linear Anode for Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) Installation

As the world’s leading manufacturer of linear anodes, and the only manufacturer of a linear anode specifically designed for use with horizontal directional drilling installations, we thought it would be appropriate to discuss various anode options for HDD installation.

Can any linear anode be used in conjunction with horizontal directional drilling?

An engineer’s favorite answer to any question is “It depends” and this is certainly the case with HDD installations. The important thing to note is that when attempting to pull a linear anode through a bore hole, there is a chance that the pulling forces on the anode will exceed the strength of the anode and cause the anode to break. Even if the anode does not break completely, stretching of the anode can weaken or damage the internal header cable or anode to cable connections.

There are a lot of variables that can impact the success of any linear anode HDD installation. The short answer is yes, with the right bore hole, any linear anode can be pulled successfully. Conversely, with the wrong bore hole, any linear anode can be pulled apart during installation.

What are the key factors to consider when planning an HDD linear anode installation?

The key factors include a site geotechnical investigation, terrain and route mapping, and bore planning.

Site Geotechnical Investigation

Any discussion about HDD installation planning starts with a site geotechnical investigation. Obtaining a geotechnical survey or as much geological information about the respective jobsite is very important. A great amount of record information is available through sources including:

  • United States Geological Society (USGS)
  • National Geological Map Database
  • Publications of the US Army Corps of Engineers
  • Earth Explorer
  • The National Soil Survey Center (NSSC) a division of the US Department of Agriculture
  • State Departments of Transportation
  • Highway Administrations
  • Original construction records

In addition to record information, site-specific investigations (soil bores and soil sampling) by trained geologists and geotechnical service companies can provide valuable detailed data on the planned bore area geology.  The geotechnical analysis should identify several relevant items including:

  • Soil identification along the bore route to locate rock, rock inclusions, gravely soils, loose deposits, discontinuities and hardpan
  • Soil strength and stability characteristics
  • Groundwater

Local drillers with experience in the identified area can often provide valuable insight based on similar projects in the same area.

Terrain and HDD Route Mapping

Collecting accurate topographical information of the bore route is another critical component in the planning phase.  Terrain and HDD mapping includes determining HDD bore hole entrance and exit locations, identifying and mapping elevation profile changes, ensuring that other utilities are appropriately identified and avoided, assessing the need for traffic control, evaluating any environmental considerations or limitations that might impact the use of drilling muds and hole conditioners.

Bore Planning Software

Several commercial bore planning software tools are available to assist in the planning phase.  These programs utilize the soil and geotechnical data combined with the terrain and route mapping information to provide a graphic visualization of the job helping the driller more accurately “see” and perform the job from start to finish.  These software tools help the contractor select the appropriate drill rig, drill bit type and back reamer based on the anticipated soil conditions and the total bore length.  By choosing the drill stem and length, the desired bore path depth, desired minimum cover, diameter and bend radius of the product being pulled, the software plots a proposed bore pitch, calculates setback distances, figures point to point bore paths, estimates hole volumes and calculates pullback time. The software can also provide a fluid–mixing process map that shows how much mud should be used based on soil conditions, drill unit and tooling used.

If a bore planning software package is not used, field calculations should be performed to appropriately choose the correct drill rig, drill bit and back reamer tooling requirements, desired bore path and quantity and type of drilling fluids to be utilized.

What anode should be selected for HDD installation?

MATCOR’s SPL-FBR™ Linear Anode may be suitable for some HDD installations.

MATCOR manufactures two linear anode products (SPL-FBR™ Linear Anode and the Iron Gopher™) that are both, in the right circumstances, suitable for use in HDD installations.  The installation contractor, along with the client, must carefully select the appropriate anode and the appropriate anode installation methodology.  The two generally accepted methodologies are direct pulling of the anode through the properly conditioned borehole by attaching the anode to the backreamer after the initial pilot hole has been drilled.  The second installation methodology involves pulling an HDPE pipe sleeve into the borehole, installing the anode inside the pipe, and then removing the HDPE sleeve.  The tables that follow are intended to assist the installer in selecting the appropriate anode and installation methodology.  The selection of the appropriate anode type and installation methodology is subjective based on a qualitative analysis.

Iron Gopher® Linear Anode for HDD Applications

TABLE 1 – Linear Anode Application Difficulty

EASY• Less than 200 foot pulling length
• Minimal changes in elevation
• No environmental restrictions on use of drilling muds/hole conditioners
• Installation costs and risks are low
MODERATE• 200-500 foot pulling length
• Moderate elevation change
• No environmental restrictions on use of drilling muds/hole conditioners
• Installation costs are modest and risks are low
DIFFICULT• 500-1000 foot pulling length
• Moderate elevation changes
• Some environmental restriction on use of drilling muds/hole conditioners
• Installation costs are higher and risks are moderate
EXTREME• 500+ foot pulling length
• Extreme or multiple elevation changes
• Restrictive environmental limits on use of drilling muds/hole conditioners
• Critical application with high costs and risks

TABLE 2 – Anode Selection Guidelines

 Linear Anode Application Difficulty 1
SOIL TYPE 2EASYMODERATEDIFFICULTEXTREME
Earth LoamsFBRFBR/Iron GopherIron GopherIron Gopher*
Sand/SiltFBR/Iron GopherIron GopherIron GopherIron Gopher*
ClayIron GopherIron GopherIron Gopher*Iron Gopher*
Gravel / CobleIron GopherFBR*/Iron Gopher*Iron Gopher*Iron Gopher*
RockyFBR*/Iron Gopher*FBR*/Iron Gopher*Iron Gopher*Iron Gopher*

*Anode is to be installed in HDPE sleeve that is then removed

NOTES
1Classifying the linear anode application difficulty using Table 1 is a qualitative analysis and may warrant taking into consideration other risk factors that may be appropriate. In general, the more difficult the application, the more costly the installation component, the greater the case to use the higher pulling strength Iron Gopher and the greater the incentive to use temporary HDPE sleeving to assure the lowest risk installation.
2Soil Types based on the US Department of Agriculture Soil textural classification guidelines. Earth Loams would include the broad range of Sandy Clay Loam, Loam, Silt Loam, and Clay Loam.

What contingency planning is warranted for an HDD installation?

Even with proper project planning and an experienced installation contractor, some consideration should be given to contingency plans if something unforeseen happens during the HDD boring and anode installation.

  • Are alternate bits available if needed to complete the pilot hole?
  • Is a larger boring machine available if needed?
  • If drilling is more challenging than anticipated, do we have ready access to HDPE pipe for sleeving if warranted?
  • Does the project warrant having one or more spare anode assemblies in the event of an anode breakage during installation?

While these risks can be greatly minimized with proper planning, asking these questions before mobilizing to the site can help solve problems more quickly, saving time and money.


For assistance with linear anode selection for HDD applications, MATCOR’s linear anode systems, project management or installation, please CONTACT US.

Tank CP Installation – A Drone’s View!

Easy to Install Tank CP System – No Cutting, No Splicing, No Welding

Tank CP InstallationWe’re excited to share this aerial drone view of a recent tank CP installation starring MATCOR’s exclusive Tank Ring Anode™ System. Superior to grid anode systems for tank bottom cathodic protection, the Tank Ring Anode System is factory assembled in concentric rings sized for your tank and shipped ready for quick installation.

  • Impressed current anode
  • New and retrofit tanks
  • Ready to install
  • No field assembly required
  • Superior current distribution
  • USA manufactured

Learn about MATCOR’s complete cathodic protection installation services.

Concentric ring anode configuration ideal for tank bottom cathodic protection

Learn more about this newer method of cathodic protection for tanks and its benefits over the more traditional grid anode system—read the full article at HERE.

MATCOR tank app

For assistance with impressed current anode system design for tank bottoms, project management, installation or field service, please contact us at the link below.

Contact a Corrosion Expert

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