REI – Exploratory Research and Innovation

Biofilms and stainless steel alloys in natural sea water

REI Project – Exploratory Research and Innovation (n°2010 34 0010)

Duration : 36 months – From October 2010

DGAR&D Program co-financed by the French Ministry of Defense, created and coordonated by Corrodys in partnership with LOMIC, DCNS, IFREMER et l’University of Caen Normandy.

Dcns ResearchIfremerMIC Laboratoire d'Océanographie MicrobienneUnicaen Université de Caen Basse-Normandie

Stainless alloys are generally resistant to corrosion in sea water. Nevertheless they are susceptible to localized corrosion and including crevice corrosion. These phenomena of accelerated corrosion of stainless alloys are a major problem on the facilities facing the sea water and lead to an increase number of interventions and costs of maintenance, as well as a lack of reliability of structures.

Electrochemical parameters allowing monitoring the progress of corrosion of these alloys in seawater have been highlighted: the elevation of the potential corrosion of the alloy, as well as the current of corrosion, indicate a very significant risk of corrosion. Studies have shown also a role of biofilms (communities of microorganisms) in this type of corrosion and even far from of the initiation site of corrosion.
However, the acquired knowledge is insufficient to effectively control this corrosion phenomenon closely related to the biofilm, whatever the conditions.


Characterize biofilms playing a role in the corrosion of stainless alloys nickel based to identify elements that may influence this type of corrosion. This characterization of biofilm must be done by a multidisciplinary approach (Microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, physical chemistry) to characterize in terms of bacterial and phytoplankton diversity, specific enzyme activities and chemical composition.

Results expected

A knowledge of the specific biofilm of stainless alloys in seawater, in terms of characterization of microorganisms consisting it, their habitat, as well as a better understanding of the mechanisms at the origin of the appearance of this type of corrosion. Finally, in the long term, knowledge gained from this project will be able to open guidelines towards new prevention methods to combat this phenomenon of corrosion.

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