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The University of Southampton

Research project: Development of an antifouling system using environmentally acceptable and naturally occuring products - Dormant - Dormant

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Biofouling in the marine environment negatively affects shipping and marine platform operations.  Recent legisltion by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has banned the use of tributyl-tin (TBT) and thereby reduced the effective antifouling protection available.  Although tin free alternatives are on the market they do not provide adequate protection for certain operational profiles.

This project investigates the development of an environmentally acceptable antifouling system using naturally derived products.  The approach used was a biomimetic one.  Mimicking natural marine processes offers the best potential to create a broad spectrum, bio-compatible antifouling system to comply with present legislation and reduce engineering vessels through-life cost.

Algal extracts were used to harness their chemical defence mechanisms and adapt their natural antifouling effects into a coating solution.  Electrochemical, optical and biological techniques were used to assess the efficacy of the system.  Experiments indicate initial success with the system in terms of coating functionality and antifouling capabilities.  Further work to fully characterise the system is underway.

Development of antifouling system
Development of antifouling system
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