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Marjan Suban, Robert Cvelbar, Borut Bundara
Institute of metal constructions, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Introduction Results
In the pipeline, which is basically designed to transport liquid, gaseous or solid materials Impact of stagnant water on MIC in water pipeline was studied. Corrosion inside the pipe is
(strewn materials), can often occur stagnant or standing water. Stagnant water or water with much more intense at the lower part of the pipe (see Figure 2). This implies, that the corrosion
low flow rate, form a potential breeding ground for the development of microorganisms. process started mainly due to stagnant water in not completely drained water supply system.
Microorganisms do not represent a risk only to living organisms but they also act on non-living This shows the explicit effect of stagnant water, probably after the hydrotest, or in another time,
nature, such as various metal and other materials. Bacteria, fungi and algae are when the system was for a longer period only partially drained. Smaller amount of stagnant
microorganisms, which among other things also cause and/or increase corrosion of metals and water was very appropriate medium for the microorganism growth and further development of
their alloys. For this type of corrosion the name of Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion or MIC. They dissolve zinc and iron and even lower quality stainless steel (e.g. 18Cr-8Ni
MIC for short is introduced. Similar considerations also apply to systems that are shown in austenitic stainless steel AISI 304) is not successful to passivate in such medium.
Table 1 and are vulnerable in terms of MIC. The table also presents the microorganisms that Upper part of pipe
are most commonly found as a cause of corrosion.
Pipe interior Corrosion product detail
Table 1: Systems with persistent MIC problems [1]
Application/System Problem Components/Areas Microorganisms
Pipelines/storage tanks Stagnant areas in the interior Aerobic and anaerobic acid
(water, wastewater, gas, Exterior of buried pipelines producers
oil) and tanks, especially in wet Sulfate reducing bacteria
clay environments Iron/manganese oxidizing
Inadequate drying after bacteria
hydrotesting Sulfate oxidizing bacteria Lower part of pipe
Cooling systems Cooling towers Aerobic and anaerobic
Heat exchangers bacteria Figure 2: Corrosion products in the pipe and longitudinally cut pipe
Storage tanks Metal oxidizing bacteria
Slime forming bacteria
Algae Corrosion products formed in pit were analyzed by EDX method. The graph in Figure 3,
Fungi showing peaks for iron Fe, zinc Zn, oxygen O and sulfur S. As already shown by equatios in the
Docks, piers, and other Splash zone Sulfate reducing bacteria
aquatic structures Just below low tide MIC iron sulfide FeS was formed as a corrosion product. For this reason, EDX analysis of
Vehicle fuel tanks Stagnant areas Fungi corrosion products detected some amount of sulfur (0,42 weight%), which is characteristic of
Power generation plants Heat exchangers Aerobic and anaerobic this type of corrosion. The presence of sulfur in conjunction with zinc was also suggested by the
Condensers bacteria
Sulfate reducing bacteria presence of zinc sulfide ZnS in the corrosion products. In addition, we have also found a
Metal oxidizing bacteria -
significant amount of chlorine in the corrosion products, probably in the form of Cl ions. Thus, a
Fire sprinkler systems Stagnant areas Anaerobic bacteria
Sulfate reducing bacteria large amount of chlorides is probably due to the implementation of the chlorine shocks in water
supply system. Effects of chlorine on the creation of new corrosion pits and deepening of
already formed pits due to MIC, has not been the subject of this investigation.
Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion
Sulfate reducing bacteria or SRB are found in a variety of natural environments. They are the
most known bacteria that have been found to be involved with MIC problems. The growth of Element App
Weight% Weight%

bacteria occurs in an environment that is shown in Figure 1 (left). Bacteria in stagnant or slow CK
moving water form a biofilm on the surface of metal under which the metal corrosion processes SK
Cl K

run up to 100 times faster than normal corrosion. Fe K

Zn K
Totals 100,00 100,00
For the course of chemical reactions in the MIC, microorganisms are required.
Anodic reaction: 4Fe -› 4Fe + 8e
Electrolytic dissociation of water: 8H2O -› 8H + 8OH
Cathodic reaction: 8H + 8e -› 8H
+ 2 2
Cathodic depolarization by SRB: 8H + SO4 -› 4H2O + S Figure 3: EDX analysis of the MIC products formed on the galvanized steel surfaces
2+ 2
Corrosion product: Fe + S -› FeS
Corrosion product: 3Fe2+ + 6OH -› 3Fe(OH)2 For comparison we also analyzed water pipe on which we can only found traces of white
Overall reaction: 4Fe + 4H2O + SO4 -› 3Fe(OH)2 + FeS + 2OH corrosion (Figure 4 top right). From the analysis of corrosion products on galvanized surface
we found that the corrosion products consist only of products of zinc with oxygen bound as zinc
SRB bacteria, therefore, in the case of ferrous alloys causes the formation of iron sulfide FeS. hydroxide Zn(OH)2 (Figure 4). We have also found a trace of iron. As the proportion of iron in
In the case of reaction with zinc (Zn), which represents the corrosion protection of steel, these corrosion products is very small, we can conclude that it originates from the lower layers
corrosion products are zinc sulfide ZnS and its aggregates, which can be found in biofilm, as is of zinc coating in which can be from 7 to about 20 weight% of iron Fe in the form of various
shown in Figure 1 (right). intermetallic phases.


Element App Intensity Weight% Weight% Atomic%
Aggregates Conc Corrn. Sigma
CK 44,47 0,4227 13,59 5,37 27,33
OK 242,97 0,9385 33,44 4,54 50,48
ZnS SK 2,70 0,8206 0,42 0,56 0,32
Cl K 6,24 0,7625 1,06 0,68 0,72
Fe K 239,02 0,9161 33,71 4,31 14,58
Zn K 113,90 0,8279 17,77 5,00 6,57
Totals 100,00 100,00

Figure 1: Components of the environment for the development of MIC (right) and microscopic Figure 4: EDX analysis of the corrosion products and photo of pipe section with white
photo of biofilm in the case of zinc corrosion (left) corrosion of galvanized steel (top right)

It is necessary to avoid the occurrence of stagnant water in water supply systems, because it represents a potential source of microorganisms, leading to the development of MIC. The
emergence of stagnant water is often result of irregularities in the construction, improper execution of the hydrotest or because of the system itself (e.g. fire protection sprinkler systems). To
avoid the occurrence of MIC some recommendations are to be considered:
> When designing and constructing water supply system blind branch should be avoided. Design horizontal pipelines to be “self-draining”.
> Pipeline must be constructed so that the velocity of fluid flow is at least 1,5 m/s.
> For filling the fire protection sprinkler system use only chemically treated water.
> To carry out the hydrotest use at least drinking demineralized water. As soon as possible after completion of the hydrotest it is required to drain and dry pipeline.