Ship hull in-water cleaning and its effects on fouling-control coatings
Today, ship hull fouling is managed through fouling-control coatings, complemented with in-water cleaning. During cleaning, coating damage and wear must be avoided, for maximum coating lifetime and reduced antifoulant release. When possible, cleaning should target early stages of fouling, using minimal forces. However, such forces, and their effects on coatings, have not yet been fully quantified. In this one-year study, minimal cleaning forces were determined using a newly-designed immersed waterjet. The results show that bi-monthly/monthly cleaning, with maximum wall shear stress up to ∼1.3 kPa and jet stagnation pressure ∼0.17 MPa, did not appear to cause damage or wear on either the biocidal antifouling (AF) or the biocide-free foul-release (FR) coatings. The AF coating required bi-monthly cleanings to keep fouling to incipient slime (time-averaged results), while the FR coating had a similar fouling level even without cleaning. The reported forces may be used in matching cleaning parameters to the adhesion strength of the early stages of fouling.