Microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC)
Microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) occurs when technical installations are colonised by bacteria and other organisms. The lifetime of tanks, pipelines or components is often considerably shortened by MIC. BAM experts change surfaces by milling nanostructures into materials which should hinder the colonisation of microorganisms.
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"Microbiologically influenced corrosion - Microorganisms in technical systems"
Steel tanks and pipelines are contaminated by microorganisms if they come into contact with contaminated liquids, e.g. with biologically degraded fuel. Corrosion or degradation of materials and components can jeopardize the safety of technical systems and cause considerable damage to the economy.
In order to combat biologically influenced corrosion, BAM is investigating the influence of nanostructures on the adhesive capacity of microorganisms. The nanostructure is intended to prevent bacteria from adhering to the inner wall of a pipe or tank.
Physicists experiment with nanostructures to prevent the adhesion of microorganisms to surfaces. A pulsed laser is used to mill a wave-shaped structure on the inner wall of a pipe in the 100-200 nanometre range. Tubular and pyramidal structures are also tested.
Biologists identify and cultivate microorganisms, investigate the living communities and living conditions of certain bacteria and examine their metabolism. Their main interest is the identification of harmful microorganisms.
Chemists specialised in biophotonics develop fluorescence particles, a.k.a. markers. They want to make microorganisms visible and obtain information about the living conditions within a biofilm (e.g. pH probes).
Materials scientists track down hidden damage. They detect corrosion in pipelines and tanks using non-destructive testing methods. The goal of the MIC team is to develop a material-independent experimental platform to quickly and accurately characterise new materials and surfaces regarding their vulnerability to MIC.