sacrificial anode

An anode made of suitable metal placed in a water heater tank to protect the tank from corrosion. Anodes of metals such as aluminum, magnesium, or zinc are sometimes installed in water heaters and other tanks to control corrosion of the tank. The introduction of the anode creates a galvanic cell in which the magnesium or zinc will go into solution (be corroded) more quickly than the metal of the tank, thereby imparting a cathodic (negative) charge to the tank metal(s) and thus preventing tank corrosion. This corroding of the anode metal is called “the sacrifice of the anode”.

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