Guyed towers are secured by anchors made from refined metals. Unfortunately, refined metals tend to return to their unrefined state. This process, known as corrosion, is a major challenge for tower owners and operators. Below are some key factors for recognizing and preventing corrosion to protect your towers and tower personnel.
What Is Corrosion?
Corrosion is an electrochemical reaction that promotes rusting and deterioration of cross-sectional material. There are four main elements necessary in the corrosion process:
- Anode (anchor shaft)
- Cathode (ground rod)
- Electrolyte (soil)
- Electrical path between the anode and cathode
In the typical conditions for guyed tower anchor setups, each of these elements is present. The anchor shaft acts as the anode, the ground rod acts as the cathode, and the soil acts as an electrolyte.
What Accelerates the Corrosion Process?
Certain elements may contribute to the conductivity of the electrolyte, in this case the soil, surrounding a guyed tower anchor, which accelerates the corrosion process. These elements include oxidants such as sulfates as well as moisture and pH level.
Tower companies must determine the level of conductivity and decide whether corrosion control is necessary by measuring the soil’s electrical resistivity and pH levels.
How to Prevent Corrosion
Although corrosion is a natural process, specific practices may be successful in minimization or prevention. Surface treatments, for example, protect anchor shafts from direct exposure to the soil. This typically consists of coating the anchor with paint or enamel. Any inconsistencies during the coating application, however, could catalyze an accelerated corrosion process.
Encasing the anchor in concrete is another way to disrupt the corrosion process and prevent tower failure. Similar to surface treatments, concrete encasements may contribute to corrosion if any cracks develop. In addition, anchor shafts enclosed in concrete are not as easy to visually inspect for rust or cross-sectional loss.
Coverage Beyond Corrosion Control
Protecting your existing and future towers requires more than corrosion control; it requires industry-specific insurance. Your tower company could be lacking the necessary amount of protection, so be sure to fill in potential coverage gaps and enhance your level of protection with USA Telecom Insurance Services. Having serviced over 100 telecom companies, our team of insurance agents have fostered a deep understanding of tower erection, DAS, line and antenna, and small cell operations. Contact us today to speak with an agent.