Originally Posted by bill good
It seemed to me a problem of connecting the wrong pole to earth. I remember a very long way back in the past where this "problem" on a wooden boat would not destroy wood if the positive was bonded as earth. (Them were the days when it was easy to reverse charge by flashing the field.)
Very interesting point. Looking up the reactions I find this:
Cathode (reduction): 2 H2O(l) + 2e− → H2(g) + 2 OH-(aq)
Anode (oxidation): 4 OH- (aq) → O2(g) + 2 H2O(l) + 4 e
The OH eats the wood so you want to be the Anode, or positive electrode as you point out. But in the case of grounding a battery, you are talking about a reaction with another boat and if you are properly isolated from dock
ground, there will be no reaction and it won't matter.
However, the wood around any bonded bronze also gets eaten by the reaction with the zinc. In that case, which battery pole is grounded won't help.