Durable self-polishing antifouling coating

Researchers have presented a novel antifouling coating based on fluorine-containing pyrrolidone amphiphilic copolymer-functionalised nanosilica.

The new self-polishing nanocomposite coating could be an ideal choice in marine antifouling applications.  Image source: Peter H - Pixabay (symbol image).

Marine biofouling is detrimental to ships and has been a significant issue in the marine industry for several decades. The development of effective, long-term, and environment-friendly antifouling coating is important but remains a challenge in oceanographic engineering.

During a recent study, a series of novel amphiphilic block copolymers (PVP-co-PTFEMA), containing hydrophilic segments (N-vinylpyrrolidone, or NVP) and hydrophobic segments (trifluoromethyl methacrylate, or TFEMA), were grafted on a nanosilica surface via surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerisation (SI-ATRP). The as-prepared amphiphilic copolymers-functionalised silica, SiO2-g-(PVP-co-PTFEMA), can be blended well with self-polishing resin, which could obtain a new type of self-polishing nanocomposite coating.

Satisfactory antibacterial and antifouling properties

The SiO2-g-(PVP-co-PTFEMA) based composite coating exhibits satisfactory antibacterial and antifouling properties due to the synergistic effect of a strong hydration layer of hydrophilic NVP fragments and low adhesion of hydrophobic TFEMA unit. The slow hydrolysis of the as-prepared self-polishing nanocomposite coating results in the formation of micro/nano structures due to the exposure of SiO2-g-(PVP-co-PTFEMA) in seawater. Moreover, the SiO2-g-(PVP-co-PTFEMA) based nanocomposite coating exhibits high mechanical durability. The as-prepared self-polishing nanocomposite coating combines outstanding antifouling performance and high mechanical durability, which could be an ideal choice in marine antifouling applications.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 165, April 2022.

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