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Recent findings showed severe localized corrosion of submerged steel bridge piles in a Florida bridge and was associated with microbial activity in the presence of marine foulers. Microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) can cause severe degradation of submerged steel infrastructure with the presence of biofilm associated with microorganisms such as sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB). Coatings have been developed to mitigate MIC and marine fouling. Coating degradation and disbondment can occur as a result of microbial attack due to the production of metabolites that degrade coating chemical and physical properties. In the work described here, electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) was conducted to identify microbial activity and degradation of an antifouling coating exposed to SRB-inoculated modified Postgate B solution. The measurements resulted in complicated impedance with multiple loops in the Nyquist diagram associated with the coating material, development of surface layers (biofilm), and the steel interface. Deconvolution of the impedance results and fitting to equivalent circuit analogs were made to identify coating characteristics and surface layer formation. EIS test results revealed coating degradation and subsequent formation of surface layers associated with SRB due to coating self-polishing and depletion of biocide components.



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Originally published in Coatings.

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