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Proceedings Paper

Microbially influenced degradation of concrete structures
Author(s): Robert D. Rogers; Melinda A. Hamilton; Lee O. Nelson
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Paper Abstract

Steel reinforced concrete is the most widely used construction material in the world. The economic costs of repair or replacement of environmentally damaged concrete structures is astronomical. For example, half of the concrete bridges in the Federal Department of Transportation highway system are in need of major repairs. Microbially influenced degradation of concrete (MID) is one of the recognized degradative processes known to adversely affect concrete integrity. It is not possible to assign a specific percent of effect to any of these processes. However, MID has been shown to be as aggressive as any of the physical/chemical phenomena. In addition, the possibility exists that there is a synergism which results in cumulative effects from all the processes. Three groups of bacteria are known to promote MID. Of these, sulfur-oxidizing bacteria (SOB) are the most aggressive. Much is known about the nutritional needs of these bacteria. However, there has not been a biological linkage established between the presence of environmental, polluting sulfur sources and the degradation of concrete structures. It has been shown that the environmental pollutants sulfur dioxide and sulfite can be utilized by active SOB for the biological production of sulfuric acid. Therefore, it is not a reach of reality to assume that SOB exposed to these pollutants could have a major impact on the degradation of concrete structures. But, until the environment sulfur loop is closed it will not be possible to calculate how important SOB activity is in initiating and promoting damage.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 March 1998
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 3398, Nondestructive Evaluation of Utilities and Pipelines II, (15 March 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.302525
Show Author Affiliations
Robert D. Rogers, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Lab. (United States)
Melinda A. Hamilton, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Lab. (United States)
Lee O. Nelson, Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3398:
Nondestructive Evaluation of Utilities and Pipelines II
Walter G. Reuter, Editor(s)

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