During a ship’s lifetime microorganisms, plants, algae, or animals will gather in its hull, during a process called hull fouling. These organisms can negatively affect a ship’s operation. However, there is a solution and is called antifouling.
Previously, ships cleaned from organic seams by hand, with the help of special scrapers. Otherwise, the vessel could quickly rot and let flow.
How do ships hull protect today?
Today there are several types of paint that do not give living organisms to develop on it. The modern paint industry has come up with special anti-fouling coatings. These coatings exist of different types, designed for different hulls, depending on the tasks and type of vessel, from the area of navigation, etc.
What are antifouling paints?
Antifouling coatings are specialized paints applied to the ship’s hull to slow the marine growth on the underwater area which can affect the vessels performance and durability.
The composition of such paint includes copper particles. Back in the time of sailing shipbuilding, the bottoms of the ships were sheathing with copper sheets to slow down the rot of the tree.
There are also paints with zinc content or ECONEA as a biocide – it disrupts photosynthesis in algae, which reduces the amount of mucus and weeds on the bottom of the ship.
But any paint wears off sooner or later due to friction against the water. Therefore it is necessary to repair the ship and to paint it again every three to five years.
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Source: Marine digital