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Microbiological Corrosion


Development of Methods both for Microbiological Detection of Stress Corrosion Cracking of Pipelines and its Prophylaxis

Tech Area / Field

  • BIO-IND/Industrial Biotechnology/Biotechnology
  • BIO-MIB/Microbiology/Biotechnology

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Zalouzhny A A

Leading Institute
State Research Center for Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, Russia, Moscow reg., Obolensk


  • Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), USA, IL, Argonne\nMyongji University / Research Institute for Clean Technology, Korea, Yongin City

Project summary

All countries dealing with exploration of gas and oil face serious problems associated with stress corrosion cracking (SCC) in gas- and oil-pipelines, which becomes often a cause of fires, explosions and even of death of people. SCC-related failures lead also to great economical and ecological losses. There is a tendency for increase of the number of accidents on main pipelines because of natural aging of the latter. In Russia, Canada, USA and countries of the European Community, such accidents are reported mostly frequent.

Stress corrosion cracking of pipelines was first detected 30 years ago. But until now, in spite of intensive investigations being carried out in this field, mechanisms of stress corrosion cracking and cause accountable for its development in pipe steel remain poorly studied [1,2]. This concerns first of all a complex character of the process of stress corrosion, in which a variety of factors interact. It is known now that SCC initiates as a result of the interaction of three conditions:

– cyclic tensile stress;

– metallurgic inherited heterogeneity of pipe steel;
– corrosiveness of the pipe environment.

Of particular scientific interest are factors determining stress corrosion activity of soils surrounding the pipe. Investigations in this field could significantly assist in our understanding of common laws of stress corrosions, as well as in developing methods of diagnostics and prophylaxis of stress corrosion in main pipelines.

Analysis of mechanisms of stress corrosion made by us in the framework of Project #1344-D (ISTC) has shown a possibility of the involvement of a great variety of microorganisms in initiation and development of cracks in pipe steel [3,4]. Evidences in favor of our observations were found in papers on microbial corrosion in metal and alloys [5,6]. Moreover, there are a number of latest papers describing a possibility of direct participation of some microorganisms in such a specific mechanism of corrosion as hydrogen embrittlement [7,8].

Nevertheless, present-day research on the role of microorganisms and chemical factors of the environment in stress corrosion are at early stage and rather conflicting.

There are backgrounds for the implementation of the project.

For several years, scientists of State Research Center for Applied Microbiology have conducted research in the field of biodamage and biocorrosion of industrial materials [9-11]. As a result of implementation of Project 119-95 (ISTC), some processes of steel biocorrosion induced by different groups of natural microorganisms have been studied [12-15]. Highly corrosive strains were isolated and characterized, and methods for quantitative analyses of biocides and their combinations were developed. There was studied a possibility of application of biological methods based on microbial antagonism and modifications of composition of the environment [16,17]. At present, in conjunction with a team from VNIIGAS (RAO Gasprom), laboratory and field tests are being performed to evaluate microbiological and chemical aggressiveness of soils at sites of pipelines sensitive to SCC. We established a correlation between some microbiological, chemical and physical-and-chemical parameters of soils and the extent of stress corrosion of pipe steel. They allowed us to conclude that data from microbiological and chemical analyses can be characteristics for diagnostics of sites at risk [ 18-20].

During the implementation of Project #1344-D "Development of methods both for microbiological detection of stress corrosion cracking of pipelines and its prophylaxis", (Project Development Grant), a great body of scientific literature on problems of stress cracking corrosion of pipelines was analyzed. A scientific review entitled "Chemical-and-Microbiological Aspects of Stress Corrosion Cracking in Main Pipelines. Methods of Prophylaxis" was written.

Based on the analysis, the Technical Schedule was significantly revised, with tasks 1 thru 5 being expanded and specified more definitely.

The fact, that stress corrosion cracking in pipelines is significant from the standpoint both of theory and practice, as well as our experience in research on microbial corrosion and stress corrosion in main gas pipelines, have determine the objective of this project.

The objective of the project is to develop methods of chemical and microbiological diagnostics of stress corrosion cracking in pipelines, as well as methods for its prophylaxis. The following tasks will be pursued:

– Making comparative microbiological and chemical analyses of samples taken from soils close to stress corroded pipeline and control sites; study of the possibility of correlation between some chemical-and-microbiological parameters of soils and the extent of stress corrosion failures.

– Simulation of the process of stress corrosion cracking to determine a role of microbial films in initiation and development of stress corrosion cracks; determination of critical values for key chemical-and-microbiological parameters of soils.

– Study of damage processes of coatings induced by microbial associations present in soils surrounding the pipeline; comparative study of bioresistance using different types of coatings.

– Development of methods for diagnostics of stress-corrosion-subjected sites of the pipeline on the basis of microbiological, chemical and physicochemical parameters of soils. Test-application of these methods to pipelines under operation.

– Development of methods for prophylaxis stress corrosion cracking using biocides or their combinations.


1. Public Inquiry Concerning Stress Corrosion Cracking on Canadian Oil and Gas Pipelines. Report of NEB, MH-2-95, Nov. 1996, 158 p.

2. Wilmott M. Stress Corrosion Cracking in High Pressure Line Pipe at Near Neutral pH Conditions. Corrosion & materials. 1997, v. 22, №3.

3. Wilmott M.J., Jack T.R., Van Boven G., Sutherby R.L. Pipeline stress corrosion cracking: crack growth sensitivity studies under simulated field conditions. Corrosion 96. Paper № 242, р. 1-19.

4. Chemical-and-Microbiological Aspects of Stress Corrosion Cracking in Main Pipelines. Methods of its Prophilaxis (Review). Final Progress Report Project #1344 D "Development of methods both for microbiological detection of stress cor-rosion cracking of pipelines and its prophylaxis (Project Development Grant)", 2000.

5. Videla H.A. Manual of Biocorrosion. London, Lewis publishers, 1996, 264 p.

6. Dowling N.J.E., Guezennec J. Microbially Inuced Corrosion. In Manual of Environmental Microbiology. Ed. in Chief – C.J.Hurst. Washington, D.C., ASM PRESS, 1997, pp. 854-855.

7. Gangloff R., Kelly R.G. Microbe-enhanced environmental fatigue crack propagation in HY 130 steel. Corrosion, 1994, v. 50, p. 345-354.

8. Lubensky S.A. Resistance of pipe steel to corrosion in Thiobacilli-added medium. Protection against corrosion and protection of the environment, 1996, № 2, pp. 7-10.

9. Fomchenkov V.M., Zhilenkov E.L., Kholodenko V.P., Chugunov V.A.., Manzenyuk N.N. Electro-orientational method to study the effect of some biocides on microorganisms inducing metal biocorrosion. Biotechnology (Rus), 1993, v. 36, № 6, p. 33-36.

10. Kobelev V.S., Rodin V.B., Vorobijeva A.M., Akimova N.A., Jigletsova S.K., Aleksandrova N.V., Kholodenko V.P. Development of the biological method for protection of recirculating water systems against biocorrosion. 2nd Intern. Cong. "ECWATECH-96", Moscow, 1996, p. 163.

11. Jigletsova S.K., Rodin V.B., Kobelev V.S., Alexandrova N.V., Rasulova G.E., Kholodenko V.P. Investigation of initial stages of biocorrosion in steel. Appl. Biochem. Microbiol. 2000, v. 36, № 6, in press.

12. Final Project Technical Reportof ISTC 119-95 "Development of Biotechnology Techniques for Elimination of Environmental Oil Pollutions",1998, 116 p.

13. Jigletsova S.K., Rodin V.B., Kobelev V.S., Akimova N.A., Alexandrova N.V., Rasulova G.E., Mironova R.I., Noskova V.P., Kholodenko V.P. Improvement of ecological safety during application of biocides to combat microbial corrosion. Appl. Biochem. Microbiol., 2000, v. 36, 6, in press.

14. Novikov I.A., Gurov B.N., Shtuchnaya G.V., Fomchenkov V.M., Kholodenko V.P. Express-method for evaluation of action of chemical biocides toward microorganisms degrading industrial materials. Appl. Biochem Microbiol., 2001, v. 37, № 1, in press.

15. Rodin V.B., Panikov N.S., Kobelev S.V., Akimova N.A., Kholodenko V.P. A simplified model of increase in colony diameter during growth of unicellular microorganisms: effects of biocides on microbial cells. Appl. Biochem. Microbiol., 1998, v. 34, № 4, p. 367-372.

16. Rodin V.B., Jigletsova S.K., Kobelev S.V., Akimova N.A., Aleksandrova N.V., Rasulova G.E., Kholodenko V.P. Development of biological methods for controlling the aerobic microorganism-induced corrosion of carbon steel. Appl. Biochem. Microbiol., 2000, v. 36, № 6, in press.

17. Rodin V.B., Jigletsova S.K., Akimova N.A., Aleksandrova N.V., Rasulova G.E., Kholodenko V.P. Direct quantitative evaluation of the effects of biocides on Pseudomonas fluorescens in various nutrient media. Appl. Biochem. Microbiol., 2000, v. 36, № 6, in press.

18. Kobelev V.S., Kholodenko V.P., Rodin V.B., Jigletsova S.K., Akimova N.A., Yermolenko Z.M., Mironova R.I., Alexandrova N.V., Rasulova G.E., Chugunov V.A., Karpov S.V., Timofeev A.L.,Ageeva N.I. Microbiological and chemical approaches to diagnostics of stress corrosion cracking in main pipelines. VIIth International Business Meeting "Diagnostics - 97". M., IRC Gasprom, 1997, v. 2, pp. 142-149.

19. Kholodenko V.P., Jigletsova S.K., Chugunov V.A., Rodin V.B., Yermolenko Z.M. Chemical-microbiological diagnostics of gas pipeline sites subjected to stress cracking corrosion. The 3d Intern. Conf. Pipelines safety. 1999, v.3, p. 262-268.

20. Kholodenko V.P., Jigletsova S.K., Chugunov V.A., Rodin V.B., Kobelev V.S., Karpov S.V., Chemical- and-microbiological diagnostics of stress corrosion cracking in main pipelines. Appl. Biochem. Microbiol.., 2000, v. 36, № 6. In press.


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