The interior surface of a type 316L stainless steel trailer barrel used to haul various chemicals showed evidence of severe pitting after less than 1 year of service. Two sections were cut from the barrel and microscopically examined. Metallographic sections were also prepared at the weld areas and away from the weld zones. Terraced, near-surface pits with subsurface caverns and a high level of sulfur in the pit residue, both indicative of bacteria-induced corrosion, were found. No evidence of weld defects or defective material was present. Testing of the water used at the wash station and implementation of bacteria control measures (a special drying process after washing and use of a sanitizing rinse) were recommended.
Manfred E. Suess, Bacteria-Induced Corrosion of a Stainless Steel Chemical Trailer Barrel, Handbook of Case Histories in Failure Analysis, Vol 1, Edited By Khlefa A. Esaklul, ASM International, 1992, p 70–73, https://doi.org/10.31399/asm.fach.v01.c9001034
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