Skip to Main Content U.S. Department of Energy
Marine Sciences Division

Biofouling/Biocorrosion Mesocosms

Test coupons

Test coupons

With these open water and controlled low-flow and high-flow exposure systems, researchers can perform fundamental and applied research on how biofouling and biocorrosion processes initiate and evolve over time. In addition, researchers can independently test and evaluate materials and coatings. Researchers can test samples that transect the waterline, are fully submerged, transect bottom sediments, or are fully buried. We have experimental systems of multiple volumes, ranging from 0.5 L to 1,800 L tanks and flow chambers. These chambers can be exposed to normal day-night lighting or full darkness to mimic deeper-water conditions. In addition, we have a 12.8m length x 3.2m width x 1.2m height oval raceway with a center divider wall that is plumbed with unfiltered seawater and equipped with a variable speed motor system to provide dynamic control of water velocity. This tank allows for the simultaneous analysis of several hundred coupon samples.

Other instruments include:

  • A ramé-hart 590-U1, Model 590 Adv Automated Goniometer/Tensiometer to measure contact angles (assess hydrophobicity/oleophobicity) on coupons up to 25 cm x 25 cm.
  • A Shimadzu model TOC-L CSH E100 with a TNM-L total nitrogen module and autosampler to rapidly analyze total carbon, organic carbon, and nitrogen from surfaces.
  • A multi-angle LED illumination and digital imaging system to provide detailed photographic recording of surfaces.

Finally, the biotechnology laboratory supports microbial biofilm profiling, genetic identification of fouling species, and characterization of biomolecular adhesives. The fouling laboratory is equipped for additional novel and accurate methods for quantifying biofouling and biocorrosion.

Low-flow coupon test tank

Low-flow coupon test tank

Marine Sciences Laboratory

Research Areas

PNNL Websites



Class-100 Clean Laboratories

Trace Elemental and Chemical Speciation Analytical Capability

Mercury Analytical Laboratory

Organic Chemistry

Biotechnology Laboratories

Microalgal Research

Aquatics Research Laboratories

Hyperbaric Lab

Ice Lab

Oil Lab

Littoral Wave Tank

Biofouling/Biocorrosion Mesocosms

Climate-Simulated Aquaculture Raceway Ponds

Mineral Extraction from Seawater

Chem/Bio Isolation Laboratories

Electromagnetic Field Generators

Electronics/Optics Laboratories

Outdoor Research Platforms

Flow Tank


Experimental Littoral Mesocosms

Wetland Research Sites

Research Vessels

Lidar Buoys

Scientific Dive Team

Littoral RDT&E Center