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Is NanoTech Going To Be The Savior of Vessels?

By Enterprise Technology Review | Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Nanotechnology is already being used in many places, whether it is AI or the medical industry. However, how this tiny technology going to handle vessel corrosion and biofouling?

FREMONT, CA: Recently, major maritime research has been revealed that nanotechnology will play a critical role in the future management of vessel biofouling and corrosion.

Corrosion and biofouling are two key by-products that impact materials, durability, and performance of the vessels. 

While conventional solutions involving protective coatings and paints partly resolve the degradation issue, new ‘nanotechnology’ is proving to be significantly more efficient.

In the case of corrosion, the degradation process is caused by an electrochemical attack. This results in a progressive process of oxidation, which puts the integrity of vessel material in danger, which comes at a high cost to marine operators regarding repair and maintenance activities. 

Biofouling includes a build-up of organic mass, which can alter the shape and hydrodynamic behavior of the material, which can lead to water resistance and fuel consumption. Both phenomena pose a challenge because of the defects in the present manufacturing industry and treatment procedure of materials. Though small, these defects work in favor of both the oxidation processes and the accumulation of biomass.

However, researchers are exploring new solutions through the development of nanostructured coatings by utilizing nanoparticle substances. These coatings possess the potential of providing superior protection as they include substances that form and interact on earlier unreachable scales, in which the biofouling and corrosion process begins. Besides, nanotechnology provides environmental benefits as it maximizes the anti-adherent or repulsive capabilities of a surface and eliminates the requirement for biocides.

Numerous organizations are already developing specialized nanotech products to handle biofouling and corrosion. These latest products include nano additives like nano alumina, nano-ZnO, and nanosilica.

Due to the technology’s innovative approach to products and processes from the smallest attainable physical scale, there remains significant interest in the potential of nanotechnology. The behavior of the matter can be very distinct at the molecular or atomic scale from what is noticed at a macro scale. There are many regions across the marine sector, which will get significantly benefitted from new advances in nanotechnology like shipbuilding, fuel additives, oil & gas operations, aquaculture and fisheries, and alternative powering systems.

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