The sacrificial anode material corrodes before the other metal pool components. More below.
The anode is made from a metal alloy with a more "active" voltage (more negative electrochemical potential) than the metal of the structure it is protecting (the cathode).
The difference in potential between the two metals means the sacrificial anode material corrodes in preference to the structure.
It is always recommended to have a sacrificial anode on any pool with a salt system.
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