Editorial Feature

Polymer Nanocomposite Coatings for Marine Applications

Nanotechnology has garnered considerable interest during the previous decade. Simultaneously, the marine sector has experienced great transformation and significant investment. This article covers the benefit of one of nanotechnology's most useful components, polymer nanocomposites, in the marine industry. 

Polymer Nanocomposites in the Marine Industry

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Marine coatings, such as antifouling paints for boats, have positively impacted the marine industry. The development of specialized materials, such as polymer nanocomposites, has helped to increase the robustness of vessel equipment, increase fuel economy, and lower operating costs.

Antifouling Coatings in Marine Industry

Coatings for marine applications enabled by nanotechnology promise effective functioning, such as corrosion protection, in many vessels, including cruise ships, yachts, and cargo ships.

Here, these protective coatings may be bonded to structures in the marine industry as a thin film to protect them from the detrimental effects of prolonged exposure to seawater. 

Nanocomposites can be used to make a type of paint to defend against antifouling. These marine paints are special coatings applied to the hull of boats in the water to prevent the growth of marine life. 

Large accumulations of this growth can affect how well the vessel runs and prevents degradation of the structure's material.

Polymer Nanocomposite and Marine Industry Coatings
Nanocomposites can be employed as a way to make eco-friendly antifouling coatings that can be used across the marine industry. Nancomposites used in this application can be made from different types of polymers, like PDMS, acrylates, and silicones.

Nanocomposite antifouling coatings can also be made from biocidal metal nanomaterials, nano-metal oxides, and carbon-based nanoparticles with antimicrobial properties. This way, the bacterial biofilm will be able to grow and subsequent damage is prevented.

The nanomaterials' size, shape, and chemical composition play a significant role in their characteristics, including surface roughness, hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity, UV/visible light resistance, heat resistance and mechanical characteristics.

As nanocomposite polymer coatings can be designed to be environmentally friendly and easy to apply in large amounts, nanomaterials could be used to improve the antifouling performance of marine coatings.

It is also possible to produce surfaces with a low sliding angle and high-water contact angle using superhydrophobic organic or inorganic hybrid nanocomposite coatings.

The quality of nanomaterial distribution in the polymer matrices significantly impacts the antifouling performance of nanocomposite coatings. The weight of nanofillers in the coating materials and the manner of mixing the nanomaterials inside the coating matrix would have a major impact on the coating's dispersion excellence and antifouling performance. 

TiO2 Nanocomposites to Prevent Ship Corrosion
Metal materials are considered to be very corrosive in the marine sector. Stainless steel is the most often used material in shipbuilding. Corrosion is one of the leading causes of structural degradation in marine and offshore constructions.

Carbon steel corrosion in the maritime environment is severe owing to the extremely corrosive nature of saltwater with its high salinity and microorganisms. Various organic and inorganic coatings are used to preserve metallic materials, notably steel, against corrosion.

A polymeric protective coating is the most common method. For example, the nanocomposite TiO2 polymer coating is capable of providing more corrosion protection to steel.

Some of the essential qualities of nanocomposites are their great strength and low weight, as well as their excellent corrosion resistance and radar absorption, a characteristic utilized to create airplanes and submarines that are difficult for radar systems to detect.

Continue reading: Nanotechnology Initiatives in the Marine Industry

References and Further Reading

Sujon, M., et al. (2021). Damping and sound absorption properties of polymer matrix composites: A review. Polymer Testing. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.polymertesting.2021.107388

Mardare. L., and Benea, L. (2017). Development of Anticorrosive Polymer Nanocomposite Coating for Corrosion Protection in Marine Environment. https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1757-899X/209/1/012056

Pourhashem, S., et al. (2022). Antifouling nanocomposite polymer coatings for marine applications: A review on experiments, mechanisms, and theoretical studies. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmst.2021.11.061

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Akhlaqul Karomah

Written by

Akhlaqul Karomah

Akhlaqul has a passion for engineering, renewable energy, science, and business development.


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