Boat Maintenance

As a preliminary to our upcoming, long-term sacrificial anode test, PS submerged zinc and aluminum anodes affixed to copper pipe sections in brackish waters for three months. The photo above left (before cleaning) shows that both pipes had significant soft growth, but the aluminum anode had deeper pits and heavier growth. The photo above right (after washing and drying) shows the aluminum anode’s heavier pitting more clearly, and it shows that the copper was better protected.

Which Anodes Work the Best?

Aluminum is more active than zinc, but attracts more growth.

A year from now, Practical Sailor will be reporting on sacrificial anodes, both zinc and aluminum, and how they performed in the salt waters of south Florida and the brackish waters of Chesapeake Bay. Sacrificial anodes are used to protect a sailboat’s exterior components from galvanic corrosion, a process during which more noble, cathodic metals like stainless steel cause less noble, anodic metals like aluminum to be eaten away by corrosion as they lose electrons.

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