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Zinc anodes are generally used in salt water, where the resistivity is generally lower. Typical uses are for the hulls of ships and boats, offshore pipelines and production platforms, in salt-water-cooled marine engines, on small boat propellers and rudders, and for the internal surface of storage tanks.

Zinc is considered a reliable material, but is not suitable for use at higher temperatures, as it tends to passivate (becomes less negative); if this happens, current may cease to flow and the anode stops working.