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An analysis of possible microbiologically influenced crevice corrosion of 316 stainless steel In a seawater environment

Howell, William R. N.

Monterey, California. Naval Postgraduate School

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An Analysis of Possible Microbiologically Influenced Crevice Corrosion of 316 Stainless Steel in a Seawater Environment

by William R. N. Howell Jr.

B.S. Biomedical Engineering Tulane University (1984)




© Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1996. All Rights Reserved.

An Analysis of Possible Microbiologically Influenced Crevice Corrosion of 316 Stainless Steel in a Seawater Environment


Wilham R. N. Howell Jr.

Submitted to the Department of Ocean Engineering on August 9, 1996 in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science in Oceanographic Engineering


An analysis was conducted of 316 Stainless Steel components which exhibited an unusual degree of crevice corrosion after exposure to seawater for approximately one year. After conducting research into the possible chemical and microbiological mechanisms for the corrosion, a metallurgical and microscopic examination of the components was performed. Results of these examinations indicated that the corrosion observed was probably the result of an interaction between the Gallionella aerobic iron bacteria and the anaerobic sulfate reducing bacteria Desulfovibrio and Desulfomaculum.

A laboratory crevice corrosion experiment, in accordance with the method of ASTM G78-89, was performed in an attempt to reproduce this rapid corrosion rate and test this hypothesis. However, the rapid corrosion experienced in the open ocean environment could not be reproduced in the laboratory. The results obtained indicated a likely sensitivity to the presence of local pollutants, required for the rapid growth of the sulfate reducing bacteria. Finally, possible preventative measures and additional at-sea experiments were proposed.

Thesis Supervisor: Koichi Masubuchi Title: Kawasaki Professor of Materials Science and Ocean Engineering


In response to a compliment on his discoveries, Sir Isaac Newton said: “If ] have seen farther than other men, it is because I stood on the shoulders of giants.” In completing this thesis and my Masters, | too have stood on the shoulders of others. This thesis could not have been completed without the help and guidance of Professor Koichi Masubuchi of MIT and Dr. Albert “Sandy” Williams of WHOI. Gentlemen, please accept my profoundest thanks; I shall try to put what you have each taught me to good use in my future endeavors.

] would like to thank my fellow graduate student Dave Walworth for all his assistance in teaching how to use the video and laser microscopes in the Welding Laboratory at MIT. Thanks also to LTJG Tom Singleton, for making me aware that this corrosion problem existed and could well serve as the basis of a thesis.

Lastly. my greatest thanks go to my family, my wife Elaine and daughter Liana. For helping me with everything from photographing specimens to purchasing 120-grit paper, you’ ve both been there for me whenever | needed you. Your love and support have been what kept me going and made possible whatever I have accomplished.

Table of Contents

ADSUract............:0c:00:+.000essslniiatldeie SN Boag a ren, 2 Acknowledgments.........:dc:....0cse ee ee ee 3 dante of Contents. .........<:dg...0<00bse.c1 ee ag nts 4 MEISWOL FIQUIES.............:Scessscde<s» 9A ee ree a ne ee 5 ihanter |: Introduction2..,...........8e a a 6 feleater 2: Crevice Corrosion Chemicamvicchantsms..2) "ye... snes 12 I. ‘Chemical Mechanismom@reulc ca@omcsionnaw nsec ce ee ils I]... Methods Of Tes no oc. eee ocerennner a ttetereen te eee eee ee 16 HMI. Effects of Enwironmentali Gens secre, cee tuse ven fugit users 19 IV. Standard Actions to Prevent or Minimize Crevice Corrosion.........000c.ccccceeeeeeeee LS AV. SURTTUITI IY 2 rere ce ge ne tne ate cane Meeps, chr annentane ee pe 25 Endnotes for @iapen.2 0 Steerer erence ose. 7202, atte nner eset aT Chapter 3: Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion Mechamisim.............0.0...:ccccecsesesecceseeeeseneees DS) Te EMETOCUCTION ree te I wc Sco dhs stae enue Zo Moe Sulfate RedweinesS aC tetas cee ete e820 eee 30 Il Iromand ManeancSess aetenidnes wie ee gee Mig eee 31 IY c Sulit OxMIGeaine Sec hiateeneiee eee NO he ante) ee ais BY, ee SHUNTED BIN AT Veen ose 2 hc, me coc EOI, tS 33 endnotes for Chgplcrs oe ee eee See eed i222 ne ne 34 (hater 4: Analysis of Corroston-Damaged Specimens......................:ccceccssessscccessesensesseessnaceeenss 35 lee MetallurgiealeAmalysis omthe dase Mei alin tee. cs. cision ee aS ie EXaminati@neelSin& daw lGCOmViCLOSCO DCR uct: ee ees aayice 36 IUGSMSS VT oe ba oF: 1g vameeete Senet Rr geet nate ere eer ere ren enya ae eRe sc coc Oe eee 38 Pmanoies or Chapter 4 a.m. eee ee Meee serge ete cates. = 40 Gemeente: Laboratory Crevice Comosion Eesti... cesses ee ccs ree ee terme ee 48 || SUMMER 5 6) C10 1) he ere oR er ee ey 48 HIER the Spe timc titalVINe SULIS. 509.5 ete enentenehan cREeoe te ne edhe 49 IANS NNR ATY © 5,.025%.c0eed sn stg Me UREA Ae SoMa Saints ag Wh Sperm ae nk ee eee 50 mPa TEATS O11] SIONS 015 ytansvidlsaschisp agi trea ea rach oeeees eee avbcuzers vatnes gestae etitvesaeteenees oe ere 58 lipase © ORCIMSTONS fromcA Tal VSUS: Yee pol Roe a sy neces eaenoteaeciassaet) sear ee eae cca 58 lke “Recommendations FOr Rrevemile meer cerrentee oii. tusk ceneneienras eee eee 59 lil.” Recommendations for Additional Expenmentaiion....--- ee 60 Appendix A Metallurgical Report From Massachusetts Materials Research, Inc................ 62

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Figure 5-10: Figure 5-1]: Figure 5-12:

List of Figures

Corrosion-Damaged Specimen #1 (O-ring grooved side)...............0....0005 9 Corrosion-Damaged Specimen #1 (Reverse side)..............0......ccccceeeeeee 10 Line Drawing of Vorticity Instrument within Support Pyramid................ 1] Specimen #1 Cavernous Pit (20X magnification)...........00.0.cccccceeeeeeee 4] Specimen #1 Edge View of Deep Pit (20X magnification).......00000.00000. 4] Specimen #ApReversesside (20 xXamacnification) gay eee 42 Specimen #2 Hemispherical Pits (20X magnification)..................000.6 42 Specimen #2,Reverse sided 20 xemapnification: cj eee es 43 Specimen #1 Cavernous Pit (100X magnification)...........0..0cc eee 43 Specunen#t Wwecp RitsilOOxemarni fication) sass eae.” 44 Speeimen #1) Deep Edge Ficcl00X magniication)=................ 44 Specimens | Decpibdve Pinger Gcinacnification) = e 45 Specimen #2 Hemispherical Pits (20X magnification).....00000.ccce 45 Specimen #2 Hemispherical Pits (20X magnification).......0.00.0000cccce. 46 Specimen #1 Hemispherical Pits (20X magnification)..................cc0008 46 Specimen #2 Deep Pits (100X magnification)................0.ccccceceeeseceeeeee 47 Spcelmeny 2e9cep Eits« WO Moma en MCatlOM iss: es.1-).2..04ee eee 47 Stenile Seawater specimen 20% macnification)..................uee ee 52 Stenle Seawaich spcemmen (20% Mmacgnihication) .............2 ne ae a2 Active Seawater Specimen (20X magnification)...................06. ere a3 Active Seawater specimeni20 x macnitication) <4) 2... ee 25 Active Seawater Specimen (100% magnification).................cccccceeees 54 Active Seawater Specimen (100% magnification)..............cccceeeeeteeeeee 54 Active seawater Pit (G0 xemacmiieation).:.%..4.,.eeeeee eet 55 AICUVe Seawadtelt IU (TOO ema CMI@ Allon). ceria eemeter ese nner nee. 3) Active Seawater Specimen (600X laserscope magnification)................. 56 Active Seawater Specimen (600X laserscope magnification).................. 56 Active Seawater Pit (600X laserscope magnification).............00:cceeee 7 Active Seawater Pit (laserscope width/depth measurement).................0.. ay

CHAPTER 1: Introduction

One of the most useful methods for studying the behavior of the ocean is the long-term deployment of in situ instrumentation to measure various parameter of interest, such as temperature,