Microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) of stainless steels in some plant failure cases were often observed at welded joints. It is important to understand the MIC mechanism for stainless steel welds. Experiments were performed to investigate the effect of the shape of the weld bead on the bacterial adhesion and pitting corrosion. Type 304 stainless steel coupon with the weld bead (308 filler filled by TIG) were exposed in culture medium with bacteria (Methylobacterium sp. or Bacillus sp.).
After a fixed period of incubation, bacteria adhered on the surface of the specimen were stained with AO (Acridine Orange), and observed by epifluorescence microscopy. With shaking during the incubation,
bacteria adhered to the HAZ and the toe region than the base metal or top of the weld region. After 60 days of incubation, SEM observation of the specimens surface was conducted. Pitting corrosion was observed at the toe region where some bacterial adhesion was seen. The austenite phase was preferentially attacked and the delta-ferrite phase was retained like a skeleton. Bacterial adhesion corresponded with the occurrence of pitting corrosion. Therefore the weld bead shape is considered to
have significant influence on bacterial adhesion and MIC occurrence in stainless steel.
Keywords: Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion, Stainless Steel, Bacteria, Weld Bead, Adhesion, Epifluorescence Microscopy