Analysis and assessment of microbial biofilm-mediated concrete deterioration.
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Analysis and assessment of microbial biofilm-mediated concrete deterioration.

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  • English

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      Technical report; Sept. 2007-Aug. 2008.
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    • Abstract:
      Inspections of bridge substructures in Texas identified surface deterioration of reinforced concrete columns on

      bridges continuously exposed water. Initial hypothesis were that the surface deterioration was a result of the

      acidity of the water in which the columns were exposed. However, evaluation of the water acidity indicated that

      the surrounding waters were only very slightly acidic and near neutral. Discussions between engineers from the

      Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and researchers at Texas A&M University and the Texas

      Transportation Institute (TTI) hypothesized that the damage could be a result of microbial attack. Microbial

      attack is often identified as an acid attack because some microbes can produce sulfuric acid. This research

      investigated whether microbes were present at areas on the bridge that were exhibiting attack, determined if

      there was a correlation between degree of damage and number of microbes present, determined if these microbes

      were acid producing microbes, and identified the microbes present at the field sites. Results indicate that

      microbes are present at the bridge columns experiencing surface deterioration, that the number of microbes

      present is directly correlated with the degree of damage, and that these microbes are acid producing. The

      research identified five genera: these included Bacillus, Brachybacterium, Flavobacterium, Lysinibacillus and

      Thiomonas. The group with the largest numbers of representatives was Bacillus, which was composed of 17

      strains. The second largest group was identified as Thiomonas perometabolis, which consisted of seven strains.

      The researchers concluded that the damage to the concrete bridge columns is microbial attack. Because some

      bridge structures are exhibiting significant microbial attack of the concrete cover and because the long-term

      performance of the columns (and hence bridges) are most sensitive to concrete cover, further research is needed

      on how to prevent and mitigate this attack.

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