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Developing Antifouling Surfaces by Preventing Adhesion

Ship hulls and other surfaces subject to sea water are continuously fouled by marine organisms such as barnacles algae and mussels. Drag caused by fouling reduces top speed and increases fuel usage. Current antifouling agents rely on the release of heavy metals into surrounding water. Heavy metals act as general biocides killing anything in their proximity. Although effective these antifouling agents are a source of environmental concern and destroy local ecosystems. Researchers at Purdue University have developed a more environmentally-conscious approach to antifouling that relies on reduction of marine organisms\' ability to adhere to surfaces. Application of this agent is highly effective with a 30-60% reduction in adhesion strength of marine organisms. Reduced adherence facilitates removal resulting in less maintenance and increased efficiency without the environmental impact associated with heavy metals.

Benefits:

1) Reduces adhesion strength of marine organisms by 30-60%. 2) Environmentally-safe solution would replace heavy-metal-based antifouling agents. 3) Potential uses extend beyond marine vessels.

Date of release: