Microbially influenced corrosion (MIC) is a costly problem caused by microorganism growing in the hydrocarbon-water interphase, affecting fuel production and processing equipment, fuel storage tanks, fuel handling systems and other infrastructure. Anti-microbial and/or antibiofilm materials and coatings are promising solution to passively control bio-contamination by preventing the adherence and growth of species to surrounding surfaces. However, methods for assessing antimicrobial materials under industrially-relevant environments are still missing. Studies defining real bio-contamination and key parameters are fundamental.
MICTEST will develop new bio-contamination exposure protocols for lab-scale validation of materials, coatings and components for aircraft fuel systems. MICTEST will be focused on:
- performing an exhaustive sampling of contaminated fuels and materials
- defining representative core microbiomes of microorganisms isolated from real samples
- determining key parameters mimicking real environments
- selecting representatives' coatings, materials and components
- proposing the most appropriate combination of technologies for assessing antimicrobial/antibiofilm properties correlated with material degradation, coating performance and the potential effects on fuel properties. Different protocols will be developed and adapted to fuel type, material and environmental conditions that are representative of the bio-contamination developed in real scenarios.
The added value of the new protocols will be demonstrated by performing validation studies in a list of materials (metallic elements, coatings, polymers) in 25L pilot tanks in climatic chambers for comparing the biofilms obtained following the new methods, current methods and the ones using real contaminated fuel samples.
A final document including all the sections of international guidelines will be presented to IATA to explore the possibilities for standardization.