Anticorrosion/antifouling properties of bacterial spore-loaded sol–gel type coating for mild steel in saline marine condition: a case of thermophilic strain of Bacillus licheniformis†
This work reports the performance of a sol–gel type coating encapsulated with biofilm of inoculums of protective thermophilic strain of Bacillus licheniformis endospores isolated from the Gazan hot springs-Saudi Arabia for the inhibition of marine fouling and corrosion protection of S36-grade mild steel in 3.5 wt% NaCl medium. In order to improve its anticorrosion properties, the hybrid sol–gel coating is further doped with zinc molybdate (MOLY) and zinc aluminum polyphosphate (ZAPP) pigments. Marine fouling study was conducted at the Arabia Gulf water of Half Moon Bay, Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabia for 10 weeks on the coated samples with and without the bacterial endospores. The assessment of fouling results reveals that the bacterial endospores possess antifouling potentials since it performed better compared to its abiotic counterpart within the immersion period of study due to their foul-releasing effect. Improved corrosion and fouling resistant in the presence of the bacterial endospores could be attributed to their multi-layered hydrophobic and antibiotic coating surface after bacterial encapsulation. Spores accumulation in the sol–gel coating altered the surface wetness thereby preventing the diffusion of corrosion molecules and ions through the bulk of the coating to the metal surface; this is evident in the trend of electrochemical coating resistance and capacitance. Confocal laser scanning fluorescence and scanning electron microscopies were employed to probe bacterial viability and surface micro-cracks inherent in the coating, respectively. This is the first report of axenic thermophilic strain of Bacillus licheniformis isolated from the Arabian Gulf with inhibiting potentials against corrosion and fouling of industrial steel.