The word anode takes you back to that physics or chemistry class back in high school when studying electrostatics. In any device, an anode is a terminal from where electric current flows in from an external source. Most of the times, it is referred to as a sacrificial anode because it becomes corroded before the object to which it is attached. With its sacrificial functionality, it assists in the protection of expensive metal pieces attached to water heaters, wharfs, ships and boats as well as water pipelines from being corroded. The anodes have to be regularly replaced once they start rusting to prevent the corrosion of the valuable metal being protected. The major elements used in the construction of anodes include aluminium, zinc as well as magnesium. The use of each of the components is solely dependent on the type of water where this is being applied.
- Aluminium Anodes -- The application of aluminium anodes is in salt and brackish water. This is mainly because the aluminium anode rods perform best in areas which have hard water available. The chemical and physical attributes of the aluminium rods give it the strength to withstand hard water than any other element types. Also, aluminium as an anode presents a health risk. This calls for safe handling as it can lead to unwanted health-related cases when ingested. The other elements in the market include magnesium anodes and zinc anodes.
- Magnesium Anodes – As a component, magnesium is perfect for freshwater use. However, when used in salt or brackish water, it has the capability of heightening corrosion which will lead to the destruction of the protected metal. The magnesium anode rods are among the most common types and unlike the aluminium anodes, they work best in softer water. Their service however in hard water is shortened this representing one of the reasons why water heaters get destroyed after the magnesium rod is completely corroded.
- Zinc Anodes – Unlike the aluminium anodes which can perform quite well in both salt and brackish water, zinc is known to only offer performance in the salty water. However, aluminium anodes still last longer than the zinc anodes as a result of their increased capacity. Technically, the zinc anodes are mostly comprised of aluminium with only a small part being zinc. The addition of the zinc metal in the anode is to effectively deal with any smells of sulphur which may come from the water.