1991-07-01

Corrosion Consequences of Microfouling in Water Reclamation Systems 911519

Microbial film formation throughout the water reclamation systems proposed for use in the NASA Space Station Freedom poses serious corrosion risks. Choice of materials for construction of these systems must include evaluation of the potential for microbially influenced corrosion.
The development of an active and therefore potentially corrosive microbial biofilm on metal surfaces is influenced by the nature of the metal substratum. This has been shown by scanning electron microscopy, isolation and identification of attached bacteria and measurements of biomass and activity. However, these techniques do not allow direct ‘ real-time’ measurement of biofilm formation and subsequent materials degradation. This is necessary to assess the efficacy of biocides and alternative remedial measures. This paper presents potential fouling and corrosion problems associated with water reclamation system design for the NASA orbiting space station.
Use of advanced metal sputtering techniques combined with image analysis and fourier transform infrared spectroscopy will be presented as real-time solutions for investigating biofilm formation and function on different materials.

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