Why do some an­odes bub­ble?

Canal Boat - - Back Cabin: -

QWhile clean­ing around the newly fit­ted an­odes on my re­cently re­blacked 55ft boat to re­move mud/al­gae growth, I no­ticed that bub­bles were be­ing re­leased from the sur­face of at least one an­ode. Is this a nor­mal oc­cur­rence or have I got some in­cip­i­ent elec­tri­cal prob­lem some­where? BOB HAL­LAM, via email

ATONY REPLIES:

On the face of it this sounds like elec­trol­y­sis of wa­ter and that im­plies that the an­ode is do­ing its job, but it should not be that fast. How­ever, if the canal wa­ter has been mixed with sea­wa­ter, an­odes will fizz. It is scary look­ing at them on a sunny day in Liver­pool docks.

If you have a shore­line, get ei­ther an iso­la­tion trans­former or gal­vanic iso­la­tor, be­cause your an­odes might be pro­tect­ing a num­ber of other boats via the earth ca­ble.

Keep an eye on the an­ode to judge its wear rate and also talk to a spe­cial­ist man­u­fac­turer like Duffs (mg­duff. co.uk) in case the canal is full of brack­ish wa­ter, in which case a dif­fer­ent an­ode metal like zinc or alu­minium might be bet­ter.

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