Zinc anodes are, at their core, a protective device for most boaters. When two metals meet, there is always a possibility of galvanic corrosion. This can be incredibly damaging for those that own boats, especially when they have any sort of metal that is actually submerged underwater. Fortunately, the addition of zinc anodes can actually help to prevent the process, which can save most boaters quite a bit of time and money. However, the use of such anodes does not merely have to be limited to boats; they can be used in any situation where metal meets sea water. It is first important, though, to understand the damaging occurrence of corrosion.
When two metals touch or are connected by electricity in sea water, a sort of rudimentary battery is formed. A current will form between the two metals, with a stream of ions going from one to another. During this process, some of the ions will be lost to the seawater. This means that bit by bit, the metal materials will actually be lost to the sea. This process is known as galvanic corrosion, and it can eventually lead to major damage to any part of the boat that is made of metal.
This process can be stopped, though, by the introduction of a third metal – in this case, the zinc anode. These anodes are used in a sacrificial manner – the zinc is given up to the sea, thus protecting the more important metal that is used for the operation of the boat. These anodes do not last forever, of course, but they do last for quite some time. As such, most boaters will take care to make sure that they make adequate use of their “zincs”, and thus can worry less about the basic hardware of their boats.
If you plan on taking your boat into the sea, you should consider making sure that you have zinc anodes to save your more important hardware. Always make sure that your zinc anodes are properly mounted, and make sure that they are used in such a way that they actually fulfill their purpose. This can usually be done by following simply instructions, but it is vitally important that these instructions are followed to the letter. Improperly mounted zinc anodes are rather useless, and constitute both a waste of material as well as a waste of money. Using the product correctly, though, can extend the life of your boat.