Marine fouling

Marine fouling - or biofouling - is an unwanted growth and development of biological organisms like mussles, algea, bacterial slimes etc. within water systems.

What is marine fouling?

Marine fouling or biofouling is accumulation of micro organisms, plants, algae, and/or animals on wetted surfaces.

Bio-fouling is divided into:

  • Micro-fouling – biofilm formation bacterial adhesion. Appears as layers of bacterial slimes.
  • Macro-fouling – attachment of larger organisms (barnacles, mussels, seaweed, etc.).

Together, these organisms form a fouling community.

Consequenses of fouling

Without electrolytic antifouling the marine growth enter seawater systems and find spots where temperature, nutrients, pH factor and other environmental conditions are right for settling and breeding. Underneath barnacles is a favorite site for pits to start and the deepest corrosion pits are quite often found there.

The fouling contaminates the water system resulting in:

  • Reduced heat transfer in heat exchangers or condensers.
  • Increased pressure drop in pipelines leading to a higher pump load.
  • Inevitable system cleaning which is usually inconvenient and expensive.
  • Evolution of corrosive gasses like CO2 or H2S.

For these reasons anti-fouling treatment is deemed necessary in industrial cooling water and other service water systems.