Istituto di Scienze Marine     
Faimali M., Chelossi E., Garaventa F., Corrà C., Greco G., Mollica A. Evolution of oxygen reduction current and biofilm on stainless steels cathodically polarised in natural aerated seawater. In: Electrochimica Acta, vol. 54 (1) pp. 148 - 153. Biocorrosion of Materials: Selection of papers from the International Conference (BIOCORYS 2007) 14-17 June 2007, Paris, France. Elsevier, 2008.
The aim of a series of works recently performed at ISMAR was to provide new useful information for a better understanding of the mechanisms by which bacteria settlement causes corrosion on Stainless Steels (SS) and similar active–passive alloys exposed to seawater. In this work, the evolutions of cathodic current, bacteria population, and electronic structure of the passive layer were investigated on SS samples polarised at fixed potentials during their exposure to natural seawater. It was found that, during the first phase of biofilm growth, cathodic current increase is proportional to the number of settled bacteria at each fixed potential. However, the proportionality factor between settled bacteria and cathodic current depends on imposed potential. In particular, the proportionality factor strongly decreases when the potential is increased above a critical value close to −150 mV Ag/AgCl. This effect seems to be correlated with the electronic structure of the passive layer. Indeed, the outer part of the passive layer on tested SS was found to behave like a conductor at potentials more active than −150 mV Ag/AgCl, and like an n-type semiconductor at more noble potentials.
DOI: 10.1016/j.electacta.2008.02.115
Subject Biofilm
Cathodic polarisation
Oxygen reduction
Passive layer
Stainless steels

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