Advances in MIC Testing

    Published: Jan 1994

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    The study of microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) has progressed from phenomenological case histories to a mature interdisciplinary science including electrochemical, metallurgical, surface analytical, microbiological, biotechnological, and biophysical techniques. With microelectrodes and gene probes it is now possible to measure interfacial dissolved oxygen, dissolved sulfide and pH, and to determine microbial species responsible for localized chemistry. Biofilms can be tailored to contain consortia of specific microorganisms and naturally-occurring biofilms can be dissected into cellular and extracellular constituents. Scanning vibrating electrodes can be used to map the distribution of anodic electrochemical activity. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy and electrochemical noise analysis techniques have been developed to non-destructively evaluate localized corrosion due to MIC. The development of environmental scanning electron, atomic force, and laser confocal microscopy makes it possible to image cells on surfaces and to accurately determine the spatial relationship between microorganisms and localized phenomena. Transport of nutrients through biofilms can be modeled using techniques including optical density measurements to precisely locate the water/biofilm interface and nuclear magnetic resonance imaging to visualize flow characteristics near surfaces colonized with microorganisms. The ways in which new techniques can be used to understand fundamental mechanisms and to discriminate MIC will be discussed in this paper.


    microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC), culture techniques, electrochemistry, surface analyses

    Author Information:

    Little, BJ
    Research chemist and oceanographer, Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, MS

    Wagner, PA
    Research chemist and oceanographer, Naval Research Laboratory, Stennis Space Center, MS

    Committee/Subcommittee: G01.11

    DOI: 10.1520/STP12921S

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