Eco-friendly self-polishing antifouling coating

A recently conducted study presents a self-polishing antifouling coating via eugenol ester hydrolysis. The coating showed good antibacterial and anti-algal properties.

A ship.
According to the researchers  Image source: Mariusz - (symbol image).

Ships and underwater facilities suffer from marine biofouling, which causes great harm. The most effective method against biofouling is to use self-polishing antifouling coatings. However, traditional coatings achieve antifouling performance by releasing toxic heavy metal antifouling agents, causing ecological problems. To solve this contradiction, a self-polishing antifouling coating polymer based on eugenol methacrylate was prepared. The hydrolysis of phenolic ester group realizes the transformation of resin segment from hydrophobicity to hydrophilicity. The self-polishing process releases eugenol, which is natural and non-toxic into seawater. 

Good antibacterial and anti-algae properties

The eugenol release rate was the fastest at the beginning of immersion of the coating, reaching 0.48 μg·cm−2·day−1 for EMFP-25. After immersion in artificial seawater for 15 days, the release rate of eugenol from the coating tends to be stable, and the EMFP-25 with the highest release rate can reach 0.14 μg·cm−2·day−1. The resin has good antibacterial and anti-algae properties, and mussel attachment experiments showed that mussels have a tendency to avoid resin coatings with high eugenol content.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 172, November 2022.

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