Marine surface solution

Flinders University researchers are currently developing new state-of-the-art coatings to prevent the growth of bio-contaminants.

Professor Andersson and Associate Professor Leterme at the Flinders Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology. Image: Flinders University

Project leaders Professor Mats Andersson and Associate Professor Sophie Leterme, who lead a research group called the Flinders Biofilm Research and Innovation Consortium (or BRIC), say maritime industry and naval ships and submarines also have a problem with buildup of marine organisms on hulls and other surfaces.
“Unwanted marine organisms grow on all surfaces and environments immersed in seawater,” they say. “A fully developed biofouling community can, after just several months growing on an unprotected vessel, cause up to 40% more fuel consumption due to additional hull drag and poor manoeurvrability.”
The new coatings will be tested in seawater, with DNA testing of marine organisms to test the results. Over more than four years, Flinders University researchers have developed the chemically engineered carbon-based coating to draw copper ions from sea waterand then release them using electrical pulses. Preliminary research by BRIC group has shown that the marine growth or biofouling can be prevented by applying a light current of energy, presenting an opportunity for further development.  

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