Shark skin saves naval industry money

Jul 15, 2005

Covering ship hulls with artificial shark skin could help ships sailing smoothly. The growth of marine organisms such as barnacles on ship hulls is a major cause of increased energy costs in the naval industry. Shark skin offers a structural design that prevents this so called 'bio-fouling'.

Ralph Liedert from the University of Applied Sciences, Bremen, Germany, is presenting his work on the application of artificial shark skin in a new anti-fouling strategy at the Society for Experimental Biology Annual Main Meeting in Barcelona.

Shark skin comprises scales that can flex individually from each other. Liedert produced a synthetic shark skin of elastic silicone, which has a significantly decreased contact surface.

This reduced contact surface makes it harder for barnacles to attach, and reduces fouling by 67%. When applied to the ship hull, this artificial surface enables ships to 'self-clean', and a speed of 4-5 knots would remove all organisms attached with little adhesion.

Until recently, paints containing a biocide were used to prevent growth on submerged surfaces, but these were banned because of the the toxic effect of the highly toxic and unspecific biocide component on marine life.

As barnacles, mussels and algae cause up to 15% increase in the drag resistence of ships, this research is providing an alternative anti-fouling strategy of great importance.

Source: Society for Experimental Biology

Explore further: Traditional forms of media coverage valued over advertising, study finds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Korean tech start-ups offer life beyond Samsung

18 hours ago

As an engineering major at Seoul's Yonsei University, Yoon Ja-Young was perfectly poised to follow the secure, lucrative and socially prized career path long-favoured by South Korea's elite graduates.

NASA satellite sees a warm winter in the Western US

3 hours ago

While people in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S have been dealing with Arctic Air, the bulge in the Jet Stream over the eastern Pacific Ocean has been keeping the western third of the U.S. in warmer than ...

Recommended for you

Bribery 'hits 1.6 billion people a year'

29 minutes ago

A total of 1.6 billion people worldwide – nearly a quarter of the global population – are forced to pay bribes to gain access to everyday public services, according to a new book by academics at the Universities of Birmingham ...

Broken windows thesis springs a leak

1 hour ago

The broken windows theory posits that minor misdemeanors, like littering or graffiti spraying, stimulate more serious anti-social behavior. LMU sociologists now argue that the idea is flawed and does not ...

Ancient wheat points to Stone Age trading links

21 hours ago

(AP)—Britons may have discovered a taste for bread thousands of years earlier than previously thought, thanks to trade with more advanced neighbors on the European continent.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.