Revealing the Silent Threats

Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC) can be a silent destructor in various environments where MIC-related microorganisms thrive under favorable conditions. Here are 7 examples of environments where MIC corrosion can occur:

Cooling towers: In industrial facilities and power plants using cooling towers, gel-like biofilms can form due to microorganisms thriving in the water used for cooling. Bacteria living in the deeper layers of the biofilm, such as iron-oxidizing and acid-producing bacteria, can cause MIC, leading to equipment failure. Moreover, these biofilms can lead to double trouble as they can promote the growth of legionella.

Oil and gas pipelines: Acetogens, fermenters, thiosulfate-reducing bacteria, sulfate-reducing bacteria, iron-reducing bacteria, sulfide-producing archaea, and methanogens, among others, can lead to the rapid formation of, for example, pit corrosion. In the oil and gas industry, 30% of equipment damage is attributed to MIC.

Coastal structures in marine environments: Bacteria can adhere to the surface of metal sheet material and cause localized rapid corrosion, particularly in areas exposed to fluctuations in seawater levels.

Underground structures: Such as tanks and storage vessels, where anaerobic bacteria can grow and produce highly corrosive hydrogen sulfide gas or accelerate chemical corrosion. MIC accounts for at least 20% of material degradation and leakage problems in these situations.

Industrial environments: Such as pulp and paper mills or food processing plants, where bacteria can thrive due to high temperatures and available nutrients, such as dissolved solids (Sulphate, Chloride) in process water. This can lead to pitting corrosion of metal surfaces, including stainless steel.

Concrete structures: Such as bridges, buildings, and sewer networks, where bacterial growth can lead to, for example, the formation of acidic compounds that can corrode reinforcing steel. Moreover, microorganisms can cause Microbiologically Induced Deterioration (MID), leading to concrete corrosion by producing acids (including organic and inorganic acids) that degrade concrete components, further compromising the integrity of sewer pipelines and other structures.

Offshore wind farms: Where exposure to environmental conditions, such as high salinity, oxygen, and diverse species of microorganisms, occurs. Contrary to initial assumptions, the closed compartment within the wind turbine monopile does not provide protection against corrosion. Therefore, the possibility of chemical corrosion and MIC-related problems is undoubtedly present.

Is your system or construction susceptible to MIC? Take action today and contact Reinoud Homan for expert guidance on assessing the risk of MIC and implementing effective mitigation strategies.

Reinoud Homan,