Low-alloy structural steels (LASS) face severe microbiologically influenced corrosion (MIC) in their service environments. To mitigate this issue, Cu is often used as an alloying element owing to its intrinsic antimicrobial activity. However, the antibacterial performance and biofilm resistance of Cu-containing LASS (Cu-LASS) are still unclear. This study aims to analyze the effect of Cu addition to 420 MP LASS on its MIC by the Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm.
Scanning electron microscope, confocal laser scanning microscope and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy were used to analyze the surface morphology and composition of corrosion products. The antibacterial activities of Cu-LASS were analyzed by the spread-plate method. In addition, electrochemical analysis was conducted to characterize the corrosion behavior of the produced alloy.
Bacterial analysis and morphological observation confirmed a reduced sessile cell count and inactivation of the P. aeruginosa biofilm on the surface of Cu-LASS coupons. Electrochemical measurements showed that Cu-LASS exhibited large polarization and charge-transfer resistances, which indicated excellent MIC resistance. This significantly enhanced resistance to MIC could be explained by the synergistic effect of released Cu2+ from the Cu-LASS surface and immediate contact to Cu-rich phase in the surface and the release of Cu2+ ions from the Cu-LASS surface.
The effect of Cu addition on the MIC resistance and antibacterial performance of LASS is seldom reported. It is necessary to investigate the corrosion resistance of Cu-LASS and clarify its antibacterial mechanism. This paper fulfills this need.