A Critical Analysis on the Current Design Criteria for Cathodic Protection of Ships and Superyachts

Materials (Basel). 2022 Apr 4;15(7):2645. doi: 10.3390/ma15072645.


Classification Society and ISO standard regulate the design of cathodic protection (CP) plans of ships and superyachts. However, due to shipyards' long experience, the hull vessel protection plans often rely on an adaptation of previous CP designs for similar ships. This simple practice could expose ships to low protection or overprotection. Here, the protection plan of an existing 42 m superyacht is considered to highlight critical CP design issues. The numerical analysis gives evidence of discrepancies between the CP design proposed in accordance with ISO standard and the protection plan that was actually implemented. Indeed, for a proper protection plan, the anode weight according to the ISO standard is 2.7 kg, whereas the real protection plan uses a 7 kg anode. The numerical optimization highlights an optimal anode mass of 5 kg (-28.5% in weight). It provides sufficient protection for the expected lifetime, and will preserve the system in cases of damage to the hull and a consequent increase in the breakdown factor. This new solution underlines the importance and necessity of improving cathodic protection plan design.

Keywords: breakdown factor; cathodic protection; numerical simulation; steel; zinc.