Cathodic Protection System For Cars

Cathodic protection is a method used to control the corrosion of metals such as iron, steel, and aluminum that have been exposed to elements in the environment such as natural water, seawater, and soil. In order to bring the structure to a more immune state, cathodic protection reduces the rate of corrosion. A common problem in cars is rust, since the undercarriage of the car and other parts are constantly exposed to many outdoor elements such as rain, dirt, and snow. Salt used by plows in the winter to line roads is a big corroder of car undercarriages. Cathodic protection would seem a good method to use in order to protect cars against rust.

The idea of a cathodic protection system for cars is a controversial one. The systems are supposedly not effective and critics say the process is not yet perfected. To work, the cathodic protection system must contain a metal that will corrode before the iron in the car will. Usually the metal used is zinc, which turns to rust and releases electrons once rusted. The car’s iron stays protected while the zinc instead corrodes. Most techniques use a process that forces a protective flow of electrons to the car metal. This process is also used in steel boats and offshore oil platforms, where the holes are protected by bolting the piece of zinc, called a sacrificial anode, to the hole, which leaves the steel hull without rust by producing a protective negative charge.

The same idea applies to a cathodic protection system used on a car. Very simply put, the zinc attached to the car will rust first and thus protect the steel of the car. Although this method works best when the metal is completely immersed in water, it still must contain a high salt content so it can produce enough electricity. The best way for a car to be protected by this method would be if it were exposed to salt water at a high enough rate. This method would most likely work the best in northern and wintry climates, where snow is more frequent and therefore salt is used more widely on the roads that the car is in contact with.

The process can work if the vehicle is electrically bonded, but the pathway for electrons must be convenient in order for it to be most effective. Electricity plays a large part in corrosion and can also be used to prevent it, thus providing the need for a significant current to prevent corrosion.

Some companies apparently use a process that provides cathodic electrochemical protection to the car by injecting electrons into the metal. Some car manufacturers use zinc electroplating on the car’s chassis which helps protect against rust. Find out more about your Local Cathodic Systems Company >>.