Nanotechnology used to combat corrosion

The KETmaritime team Photo: INL The KETmaritime team Photo: INL
Industry Database

Nanotechnology will play a crucial role in the future management of vessel corrosion and biofouling, according to a new maritime study.

The research into the potential of 'Nanotechnology Marine Applications' is part of the €1m two-year KETmaritime project led by the International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL). The latest study was led by Spanish technology centre IDONIAL in collaboration with INL and Marine South East in the UK.

Project coordinator, Ana Vila, said humidity and salinity levels at sea cause around 30% of all vessel failures, repair needs and equipment malfunctions. Whilst traditional solutions including protective coatings and paints partially offset the degradation process, new nanotechnology is proving considerably more efficient.

Major challenges

“Corrosion and biofouling are two major challenges for vessel operators,” said Ana. “This comes at a considerable cost to marine operators in terms of maintenance and repair activities. Both phenomena continue to pose challenges because the current manufacturing and treatment process of materials present defects."

New solutions are being explored through the development of 'nanostructed' coatings using 'nanoparticulate' substances. "These coatings are capable of providing superior protection because they involve substances which form and interact on previously unreachable scales, in which the corrosion and biofouling processes begin," explained Ana.

The KETmaritime project is backed by the European Regional Development Fund and is being delivered by a consortium of seven partners in an effort to identify ‘Key Enabling Technologies’ to support the future needs and demands of the Atlantic maritime industry.

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