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Vol. 120, 2018, Pages: 27-42

Ennoblement, corrosion, and biofouling in brackish seawater: Comparison between six stainless steel grades

E.Huttunen-Saarivirta, P.Rajala, M.Marja-aho, J.Maukonen, E.Sohlberg, L.Carpén

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, P.O. Box 1000, FI-02044, VTT, Finland.


In this work, six common stainless steel grades were compared with respect to ennoblement characteristics, corrosion performance and tendency to biofouling in brackish sea water in a pilot-scale cooling water circuit. Two tests were performed, each employing three test materials, until differences between the materials were detected. Open circuit potential (OCP) was measured continuously in situ. Potentiodynamic polarization and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements were conducted before and after the tests. Exposed specimens were further subjected to examinations by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energy-dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), and the biofouling was studied using epifluorescence microscopy, quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and high-throughput sequencing (HTP sequencing).

The results revealed dissimilarities between the stainless steel grades in corrosion behaviour and biofouling tendency. The test material that differed from the most of the other studied alloys was grade EN 1.4162. It experienced fastest and most efficient ennoblement of OCP, its passive area shrank to the greatest extent and the cathodic reaction was accelerated to a significant degree by the development of biofilm. Furthermore, microbiological analyses revealed that bacterial community on EN 1.4162 was dominated by Actinobacteria, whereas on the other five test materials Proteobacteria was the main bacterial phylum.

Keywords: Microbially induced corrosion (MIC), Biofouling, Stainless steel, Brackish sea water, Electrochemical measurements, Ennoblement.

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