Tuesday, May 04, 2004

e4engineering.com: Protecting ships and rigs with polymer armour

By Stuart Nathan
"Microscopic polymer armour could allow researchers to develop effective and environmentally friendly anti-fouling coatings for ships and oil rigs, and prevent rejection of surgical implants."
The traditional coatings for ship hulls have been toxic chemicals (organotin and copper compounds) that kill off anything that tries to live on the hull. (Copper sheathing was used in the Napoleonic era, but that wasn't as effective). There are environmental and safety issues with the painting, resurfacing, and wear. I believe the US has outlawed these coatings in accordance with an IMO Convention. The rush is on to replace these with enzymatic coatings that affect the adhesion of the critters to the hull surfaces, but the enzymes break down fairly quickly. This article discusses a way to protect the enzymes so that the coating is effective for longer.

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