Anti-biofouling coatings

Development and testing of novel anti-biofouling coatings for underwater optical monitoring systems (U_Sens)

University of Applied Sciences Kiel - Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, Institute for Materials and Surface Technology
Prof. Dr. Mohammed Es-Souni

Offshore wind energy is becoming one of the most important sources of renewable energy. It will make a significant contribution to achieving the 2020 goals of the Federal Government. For this to succeed, the offshore structures must be monitored, as they are constantly exposed to adverse conditions. While the design of the mechanical structures is usually proven with sufficient certainty, micromechanical and electrochemical processes are not included. But precisely because of the specific highly corrosive seawater environment, these processes are paramountcy, since they can weaken a structure to such an extent that the consequences could be catastrophic.

Scour is another problem that can weaken the foundations of the structure. At present, the structures have to be inspected by divers in a time and cost intensive manner. Optical monitoring devices connected to an onshore monitoring center could remedy this situation and lead to significant cost savings. Unfortunately, these devices are overgrown in a short time with small marine organisms.

The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is funding sub-project 0325915E with funds from the federal budget in the amount of EUR 341,544.00. The grant applies for the period from 01.12.2015 to 31.01.2019.

Activities and goals

It is the task of this subproject to develop transparent, release-free anti-biofouling layers and to test their functionality on the FINO3 platform. The effect of the layers is based on the prevention of the formation of biofilms, which are known to form the basis for the colonization by marine organisms, by coupled functional polymers and biomimetic molecules. For this purpose, transparent substrates as well as glass and polymer substrates are provided with a primer layer of metal oxides or silicate layer materials (alumina-like materials). After a surface treatment of this layer, an adhesive molecule (bridging molecule with a functional group for docking on the primer layer and a second group for attaching the anti-biofouling molecule) is coupled. Thereafter, the treatment is carried out with the antibiofouling polymer or biomimetic molecules.

This procedure allows the production of environmentally friendly, release-free anti-biofouling layers, since the prevention of biofilm formation is accomplished only by the functionality of the covalently coupled molecules. The success of this project has far-reaching application and recovery potential in all areas where biofouling is a serious problem. Beyond the maritime industry, aquaculture and drinking water treatment are just a few of the industries to be named, where the strata could have a high application potential.

To the results

Results are only available on the German website