In an increasingly miniaturised technological world, non-destructive testing (NDT) methodologies able to detect defects at the micro scale are necessary to prevent failures. Although several existing methods allow the detection of defects at that scale, their application may be hindered by the small size of the samples to examine. In this study, the application of bacterial cells to help the detection of fissures, cracks, and voids on the surface of metals is proposed. The application of magnetic and electric fields after deposition of the cells ensured the distribution of the cells over the entire surfaces and helped the penetration of the cells inside the defects. The use of fluorophores to stain the cells allowed their visualisation and the identification of the defects. Furthermore, the size and zeta potential of the cells and their production of siderophores and biosurfactants could be influenced to detect smaller defects. Micro and nano surface defects made in aluminium, steel, and copper alloys could be readily identified by two Staphylococcus strains and Rhodococcus erythropolis cells.
- Micro defects