Biofouling of water bound vessels is a common issue among mariners. Mussels and barnacles in conjunction with other marine life forms find the surface of the vessels to be conducive to growth. In an effort to prevent damage to the ships surface as well as water intake areas and pipes, antifouling systems are strategically placed to eliminate damages. Lost revenues and repair expenditures are devastating to any business including those who thrive in the water. To help prevent biofouling, four primary methods are used in combination with antifouling paint.
An electrolytic system is the most frequent used to deter biofouling. This process involves the use of anode pairs that are comprised of copper, aluminum, or iron. The first anode is attached to the chest or strainer of the vessel. Utilizing the flow of DC current creates charged ions that prevent marine life from attaching to the charged areas. The second anode of the pair functions to prevent metal corrosion. This is accomplished by breaking down elements of the seawater that are corrosive such as sulphur. The electrical output of the anodes is closely monitored by an onboard display.
Ultrasonic high frequency waves are another method often used to eliminate and prevent biofouling. What is good about this method is that there are not any toxic substances produced. The ultrasonic waves work in one of two ways. The first is through an action of disturbance that leaves the habitat undesirable for marine life to adhere to. The second is through a mechanical interference. When living organisms try to adhere to the ships surface, they are unable to get their adhesive to solidify on the surface.
Another method used to prevent biofouling is electrochlorination. This functions through using chlorine to manufacture a sodium hypochlorite that eliminates fouling. This method can only be used in saltwater environments. Titanium is used for cathodes, and titanium surrounded with platinum is used for the anodes. It is important that the electrical current be maintained at 7 volts.
The final popular method that is used for antifouling systems is chemical dousing. Chemicals such as ferrous chloride prevent fouling of systems. A protective iron coating around the piping also keeps things in order.
Regardless of which of these antifouling systems is used, the end result is the same. Ships and other water vessels are helped with avoiding damage from unwanted residents. The effect of each of these systems has some…