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Bubbles vs biofilms: a novel method for the removal of marine biofilms attached on antifouling coatings using an ultrasonically activated water stream

Bubbles vs biofilms: a novel method for the removal of marine biofilms attached on antifouling coatings using an ultrasonically activated water stream
Bubbles vs biofilms: a novel method for the removal of marine biofilms attached on antifouling coatings using an ultrasonically activated water stream
The accumulation of marine organisms on a range of manmade surfaces, termed biofouling, has proven to be the Achilles’s heel of the shipping industry. Current antifouling coatings, such as Foul Release Coatings (FRCs), only partially inhibit biofouling, since biofilms remain a major issue. Mechanical ship hull cleaning is commonly employed to remove biofilms, but these methods tend to damage the antifouling coating and often do not result in full removal. Here, we report the effectiveness of biofilm removal from FRCs through a novel cleaning device that uses an Ultrasonically Activated Stream (UAS). In this device, ultrasound enhances the cleaning properties of microbubbles in a freely flowing stream of water. The UAS was applied on two types of commercial FRCs which were covered with biofilm growth following twelve days immersion in the marine environment. Biofilm removal was quantified in terms of reduction in biovolume and surface roughness, both measured using an optical profilometer, which were then compared with similar measurements after cleaning with a non-ultrasonically activated water stream. It was found that the UAS significantly improves the cleaning capabilities of a water flow, up to the point where no detectable biofilm remained on the coating surfaces. Overall biofilm surface coverage was significantly lower on the FRC coatings cleaned with the UAS system when compared to the coatings cleaned with water or not cleaned at all. When biofilm biomass removal was investigated, the UAS system resulted in significantly lower biovolume values even when compared to the water cleaning treatment with biovolume values close to zero. Remarkably, the surface roughness of the coatings after cleaning with the UAS was found to be comparable to that of the blank, non-immersed coatings, illustrating that the UAS did not damage the coatings in the process.
biofilms, adhesion, ultrasonically activated stream, antifouling, coatings, cleaning
1-18
Salta, M.
9d62d115-8e0d-486d-ae46-c61f596aba85
Goodes, L.
83fd1cdf-8fba-4089-9094-971f6460f5ef
Maas, B.J.
dc3906ae-3c47-45ef-bfc9-ef7cbdfa6556
Dennington, S.P.
6a329a55-8c10-4515-8920-d8f40f302221
Secker, T.J.
16b0a878-984f-4272-bfaa-667c7c63023a
Leighton, T.G.
3e5262ce-1d7d-42eb-b013-fcc5c286bbae
Salta, M.
9d62d115-8e0d-486d-ae46-c61f596aba85
Goodes, L.
83fd1cdf-8fba-4089-9094-971f6460f5ef
Maas, B.J.
dc3906ae-3c47-45ef-bfc9-ef7cbdfa6556
Dennington, S.P.
6a329a55-8c10-4515-8920-d8f40f302221
Secker, T.J.
16b0a878-984f-4272-bfaa-667c7c63023a
Leighton, T.G.
3e5262ce-1d7d-42eb-b013-fcc5c286bbae

Salta, M., Goodes, L., Maas, B.J., Dennington, S.P., Secker, T.J. and Leighton, T.G. (2016) Bubbles vs biofilms: a novel method for the removal of marine biofilms attached on antifouling coatings using an ultrasonically activated water stream. [in special issue: Green Tribology: Modifying Surface Topography to Control Friction and Wear] Surface Topography: Metrology and Properties, 4 (3), 1-18. (doi:10.1088/2051-672X/4/3/034009).

Record type: Article

Abstract

The accumulation of marine organisms on a range of manmade surfaces, termed biofouling, has proven to be the Achilles’s heel of the shipping industry. Current antifouling coatings, such as Foul Release Coatings (FRCs), only partially inhibit biofouling, since biofilms remain a major issue. Mechanical ship hull cleaning is commonly employed to remove biofilms, but these methods tend to damage the antifouling coating and often do not result in full removal. Here, we report the effectiveness of biofilm removal from FRCs through a novel cleaning device that uses an Ultrasonically Activated Stream (UAS). In this device, ultrasound enhances the cleaning properties of microbubbles in a freely flowing stream of water. The UAS was applied on two types of commercial FRCs which were covered with biofilm growth following twelve days immersion in the marine environment. Biofilm removal was quantified in terms of reduction in biovolume and surface roughness, both measured using an optical profilometer, which were then compared with similar measurements after cleaning with a non-ultrasonically activated water stream. It was found that the UAS significantly improves the cleaning capabilities of a water flow, up to the point where no detectable biofilm remained on the coating surfaces. Overall biofilm surface coverage was significantly lower on the FRC coatings cleaned with the UAS system when compared to the coatings cleaned with water or not cleaned at all. When biofilm biomass removal was investigated, the UAS system resulted in significantly lower biovolume values even when compared to the water cleaning treatment with biovolume values close to zero. Remarkably, the surface roughness of the coatings after cleaning with the UAS was found to be comparable to that of the blank, non-immersed coatings, illustrating that the UAS did not damage the coatings in the process.

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Manuscript_GT_Salta_2ndResubmission_v5.docx - Accepted Manuscript
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Accepted/In Press date: 3 August 2016
e-pub ahead of print date: 19 September 2016
Published date: 19 September 2016
Keywords: biofilms, adhesion, ultrasonically activated stream, antifouling, coatings, cleaning
Organisations: Inst. Sound & Vibration Research

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 399242
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/399242
PURE UUID: d58bbc07-98a5-4577-8695-3661ff82bd2a
ORCID for T.J. Secker: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-7168-8592
ORCID for T.G. Leighton: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-1649-8750

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Date deposited: 11 Aug 2016 14:18
Last modified: 17 Dec 2019 06:42

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Contributors

Author: M. Salta
Author: L. Goodes
Author: B.J. Maas
Author: S.P. Dennington
Author: T.J. Secker ORCID iD
Author: T.G. Leighton ORCID iD

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