Hawaii National Marine Renewable Energy Center

Biofouling/Biocorrosion Studies

P.I.: Assoc. Prof.  Guangyi Wang, Department of Oceanography

Objectives: Explore
Biocorrosion and Biofouling of Aluminum  Alloys using molecular methods to identify the composition of fouling communities.

Presently: Marine installations are vulnerable to biocorrosion which is a serious problem for power generation facilities and the offshore oil and gas industry. Biocorrosion occurs when complex microbial consortia interact with metallic surfaces through the establishment of multispecies biofilms. Biofilms mediate interactions between metal surfaces and the liquid environment, leading to major modifications of the metal-solution interface by drastically changing the types and concentrations of ions, pH, and oxygen levels. The mechanism of biocorrosion is complex and insufficiently understood. While application of biocides and surfactants has been successful in mitigating biocorrosion these effects are generally temporary and may not be acceptable for use in sensitive marine
habitats.

Project: Biocorrosion of sample coupons was explored using molecular methods to identify the composition of fouling communities. Innovative marine coatings, containing natural compounds extracted from algae and sponges and conductive polymers, were tested in the laboratory to determine if they are effective in providing protection from biocorrosion to ferrous and non-ferrous metals.  A progress report is available (Biofouling and Biocorrosion _ Progress Report). Work  was discontinued due to NEPA Compliance requirements and information was incorporated into ongoing work by Makai Ocean Engineering at the OTEC Test Site. The latest progress report from the ongoing Aluminum corrosion experiment is OTEC Heat Exchanger Project_Aluminum Corrosion

Visiting Oceanography graduate student (Lydia Li) holding immersion rack carrying coupons of Al-6061 and Al-5083 treated with different anti-fouling coatings before the immersion test at the Makai Research Pier

Visiting oceanography graduate student (Lydia Li) holding immersion rack carrying coupons of Al-6061 and Al-5083 treated with different anti-fouling coatings before the immersion test at the Makai Research Pier

One thought on “Biofouling/Biocorrosion Studies

  1. Joel

    I can’t wait to see these advanced surfaces applied effectively to wave attenuation barriers and wave energy producing devices. The days of biofouling will soon be behind us. Keep up the great research.

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