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Materials 2014, 7(6), 4321-4334; doi:10.3390/ma7064321

Copper Tube Pitting in Santa Fe Municipal Water Caused by Microbial Induced Corrosion

1
Materials & Metallurgical Engineering Department, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM 87801, USA
2
Earth & Environmental Sciences, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM 87801, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 April 2014 / Revised: 16 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Corrosion of Materials)
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Abstract

Many copper water lines for municipal drinking water in Santa Fe, New Mexico USA, have developed pinhole leaks. The pitting matches the description of Type I pitting of copper, which has historically been attributed to water chemistry and to contaminants on the copper tubing surface. However, more recent studies attribute copper pitting to microbial induced corrosion (MIC). In order to test for microbes, the copper tubing was fixed in hexamethyldisilazane (HMDS), then the tops of the corrosion mounds were broken open, and the interior of the corrosion pits were examined with scanning electron microscopy (SEM). The analysis found that microbes resembling actinobacteria were deep inside the pits and wedged between the crystallographic planes of the corroded copper grains. The presence of actinobacteria confirms the possibility that the cause of this pitting corrosion was MIC. This observation provides better understanding and new methods for preventing the pitting of copper tubing in municipal water. View Full-Text
Keywords: copper; pitting; microbes; SEM; biocorrosion; microbiologically influenced corrosion; MIC; microbial induced corrosion; tap water; municipal water copper; pitting; microbes; SEM; biocorrosion; microbiologically influenced corrosion; MIC; microbial induced corrosion; tap water; municipal water
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Burleigh, T.D.; Gierke, C.G.; Fredj, N.; Boston, P.J. Copper Tube Pitting in Santa Fe Municipal Water Caused by Microbial Induced Corrosion. Materials 2014, 7, 4321-4334.

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