Marine corrosion of stainless steel in Polar seawater

Updated 2005-03-21

The effects of biofilm settlement on corrosion resistance of stainless steels in polar seawaters are not well known. In warmer conditions (Mediterranean sea) biofilm increases both the risk of localised corrosion onset and the propagation rate of corrosion attack. Corrosion tests carried out in Antarctica demonstrated that biofilm growth at about 0°C induced electrochemical effects less important than those occurring in warmer conditions. On the contrary, corrosion tests performed in similar environmental conditions at Ny-Aalesund (Svalbard) showed more severe corrosion attack than in Antarctica. This research aims: - to define the influence of biofilm on stainless steel corrosion resistance in polar seawater in the range of temperature between -1 and +5 °C, - to define if change in salinity can influence corrosion process, - to identify stainless steel grades which can be acceptable in such conditions (polar seawater seems to be somewhat less corrosive, which gives the possibility to use cheaper stainless steels).

Comments and additional information:

To carry out this research two prototypes of an underwater automatic system for the acquisition of the electrochemical parameters (potential and corrosion current) of 80 samples in addition to both seawater temperature and salinity throughout one year were realised.

Time frame

Project time span
1997 - 2006
Data collection
1997 - 2004
Data processing
1997 - 2004
Data reporting
1997 - 2004

Contact information

Contact person
Giorgio Alabiso
Istituto per l'Ambiente Marino Costiero (IAMC) sez. territoriale di Taranto CNR Via Roma 3 74100 Taranto
+39 99 4542205
+39 99 4542215

Parameters and Media

Parameter groups measured/observed/modelled
Biological effects
Other metals/elements
Media sampled/studied/modelled


Regions studied
Arctic Seas
Dirigibile Italia, Ny-Ålesund
Stations or areas where observations are made

"Mario Zucchelli" Station (Terra Nova Bay, Ross Sea, Antarctica) 74° 41' 42" S; 164° 07' 23" E

Data availability

References to key publications (or planned publications) and data reports
 ALABISO G. MONTINI U. SCOTTO V. MOLLICA A. MARCENARO G. BEGGIATO M. DELLEPIANE R. BANDELLONI R. TIBERTI D. (1991) - Marine Corrosion of Metal Alloys of Wide Technological Use in Extreme Environmental Conditions – in Oceanographyc Campaign 1989-90, MURST, National Scientific Commission for Antartica, Oceanographic Campaign 89/90. Part I, 392-409.  ALABISO G., MONTINI U., MOLLICA A., BEGGIATO M., SCOTTO V., MARCENARO G., DELLEPIANE R. (1993) - Marine corrosion test on metal alloys in Antarctica: Preliminary Results. In Marine Corrosion of Stainless Steel: Chlorination and microbial effect Published for the European Federation of Corrosion by The Institute of Materials, Maney Publishing, London, 1993, vol No 10: 36-47  ALABISO G., SCOTTO V., MONTINI U., MARCENARO G., BEGGIATO A., MOLLICA A., DELLEPIANE R. (1993) - Biofilm interference on stainless steel corrosion behaviour in Antarctic seawater. Oebalia, vol XIX, Supp.:559-566.  ALABISO G., SCOTTO V., MOLLICA A, MONTINI U., MARCENARO G. and DELLEPIANE R. (1996) - Long term corrosion tests in natural seawater at Terra Nova Bay, in Ross Sea, Antarctica. Rap. Tecn. no 79/ISTTA/OCEAN,1996, SIGLE,CNR,ROMA.  ALABISO G., SCOTTO V., MOLLICA A, MONTINI U., MARCENARO G. and DELLEPIANE R. (1996) - Stainless Steel Corrosion in Antarctic Seawaters: a Contribution Coming from the Italian PNRA Project. In Sea water Corrosion of Stainless Steels - Mechanisms and Experiences. vol No 10: 36-47 Published for the European Federation of Corrosion by The Institute of Materials, Maney Publishing, London vol No 19: 95-101  ALABISO G., SCOTTO V., MOLLICA A., MONTINI U., MARCENARO G. (1998) – Stainless steel corrosion behaviour in Polar seawater: Preliminary results of six-month field test. Proc. from the Fourth Ny-Alesund Seminar: The Arctic and the Global Change. Ravello, Italy, 5-6 March 1988. p 173-176.  ALABISO G., MONTINI U., PACIFICO P., MILILLO M. (2001) - Marine corrosion of stainless steels in polar seawater: report of activity year 2000. R.T. NO.98/ISTTA/OCEAN/ A.G./DEC.2001/ CNR/ROMA  ALABISO G., SCOTTO V., MOLLICA A, MONTINI U., MILILLO M., PACIFICO P. (2002) - Stainless steels corrosion in polar seawaters. Proceedings 15th International Corrosion Congress. Granada (Spain) September 22 to 27 September 2002. Paper n. 352. pp 8  ALABISO G. (2002) - Marine corrosion of stainless steel in polar seawater. Polarnet Technical Report. vol. 1/2002: 109-112  ALABISO G.., MOLLICA A., MONTINI U., MILILLO M., PACIFICO P. (2003) - Stainless steel corrosion in polar seawater: 1999-2001 - Results and perspectives. Extended abstract Meeting Nazionale sulle Tecnologie del PNRA Risultati del Truiennio 1999-2001 Obiettivi futuri. Frascati (Rome) 14-16 maggio 2003. pp3.
Samples/specimens archived in specimen banks?

Methods & Procedures

Not specified

Additional Information

Is this a bi- AND multi-lateral project (i.e. a project involving cooperation between different countries)?
Other institutes involved in the project

CNR-ISMAR-Sez. Genova

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