Non-toxic, non-biocide-release antifouling coatings based on molecular structure design for marine applications

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Marine biofouling generally refers to the undesirable accumulation of biological organisms on surfaces in contact with seawater. This natural phenomenon represents a major economic concern for marine industries, e.g. for ships and vessels, oil and wind-turbine sea-platforms, pipelines, water valves and filters, as it limits the performance of devices, materials and underwater structures and increases the costs related to transport delays, hull maintenance and repair, cleaning and desalination units, corrosion and structure break-down. In the last few decades, many efforts have been spent into developing efficient antifouling (AF) surfaces (coatings) combining advances in materials science and recent knowledge of marine chemistry and biology. However, the extensive use of toxic and harmful compounds in the formulations raised increasing health and environmental concerns leading to stricter regulations which pushed marine industries to search for new AF strategies. This review presents the recent research progress made in green strategies for AF coatings using non-toxic, non-biocide-release based principles for marine applications. The two main approaches, detachment of biofoulants or preventing biofoulants attachment, are reviewed in detail and new promising routes based on amphiphilic, (super)hydrophilic, and topographic (structured) surfaces are highlighted. The chemical and physical aspects of the AF mechanisms behind the AF strategies reviewed are emphasized, with special attention to the early stages of biofoulant adhesion, keeping the focus on the materials' molecular structure and properties which allow obtaining the final desired antifouling behaviour.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6547-6570
JournalJournal of Materials Chemistry B
Issue number32
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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