Abstract

This research provides an empirical study of electrodes used to measure galvanic resistivity. The central element of this work is an estimation of errors in resistivity measurements that arise because of the type of electrode material used. Fourteen types of electrodes were tested including metal electrodes, metal-salt-compound (nonpolarizing) electrodes, and one nonmetal electrode, under conditions that are typical of those encountered during geophysical surveys. Measurement errors for resistance and chargeability were estimated using the reciprocity of data from an array of electrodes such as might be used for electric-resistance tomography. The same error analysis was applied to data from a network of high-precision resistors to separate instrument errors from electrode errors. Significant differences were observed in errors produced by different electrode materials. We conclude that the choice of electrode is very important for resistivity or chargeability surveys. Iron, steel (including rebar), lead, and phosphor bronze produced the smallest errors in resistance and chargeability. Aluminum, magnesium, titanium, copper, and zinc produced the largest errors. Stainless steel (alloy 316), tin, and brass performed reasonably well, as did carbon, which was the only nonmetal tested.

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