Report Compares Ceramic and Silicone Coatings
A new study has recently analyzed ceramic coatings' ability to reduce biofouling on the hull of vessels. Researchers from the Universities of Cantabria and Lisbon compared ceramic coatings with two silicone-based coatings, typically used on ship hulls.
The research was recently published in the Journal of Bioadhesion and Biofilm.
Ceramic glazes for the research, supplied by kitchenware manufacturer Vitrinor (Cantabria, Spain), are reportedly 99% effective against bacteria. The study sought to find how significantly fouling is reduced when ceramic glazes are used in substitute for silicone.
The paper is meant to investigate the feasibility of three types of ceramic coatings as “eco-friendly, efficient and long-lasting substitutes for traditional silicone-based marine coatings.” The paper states that testing was conducted over a 20-month period of exposure.
According to the paper's abstract, tests were done to “simulate the navigation conditions such that growth and roughness data can be obtained and then applied to computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software using an open-source Reynolds-averaged Navier–Stokes solver.”
Researchers David S. Sanz, Sergio Garcia and Alfredo Trueba from the University of Cantabria, and Hafizul Islam and C. Guedes Soaras from the University of Lisbon, worked in collaboration on the paper. In the abstract, the researchers state that the approach “shows the drag in hulls coated with conventional paint is 19% greater than that in hulls with ceramic coating.”
The study was funded by the Spanish Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness. The researchers also acknowledge Sergio Gutierrez from Vitrinor, who provided the coatings free of charge.
In addition to the latest research, other alternative coating methods are being explored for ships and vessels to aid in the decarbonization of the shipping industry.
In April, sustainable coatings company Graphite Innovation and Technologies (GIT) signed a two-year agreement with Stolt Tankers to apply its graphene-based marine coating to ship propellers later this year.
According to the release, GIT’s XGIT-PROP is an eco-friendly product that reduces marine growth and improves propulsion efficiency while ensuring no harmful toxins or biocides are released into the ocean. Stolt will reportedly be the first chemical tanker company to apply the coating to its fleet.
XGIT-PROP is a graphene-based propeller coating that is designed to release the growth of fouling on ship propellers and reduce the frequency of propeller “polishings” or cleanings after two to three coats.
Previously, Stolt Tankers completed a trial of the GIT graphene propeller coating on the Stolt Acer in April 2022. The company noted a significant reduction in fuel consumption and subsequently applied the coating to five additional ships.
The two-year agreement, announced earlier that month, will see the XGIT-PROP graphene-based marine coating to the propellers of 25 Stolt Tankers ships during 2023.