Marine fouling in seawater inlets
Marine fouling is an unwanted development of biological organisms like mussles, algea, bacterial slimes. Underneath barnacles is a favourite site for corrosion pits to start.
Marine fouling occurs when organisms attach themselves to underwater objects like ship's hull, water inlet systems, ropes, etc.
A variety of antifouling methods have historically been implemented to combat biofouling. Recently, scientists have begun researching antifouling methods inspired by living organisms.
Paints and coatings are used to prevent marine fouling, but are frequently toxin-based and not very effective, with adverse environmental and economic impact.
What is marine fouling?
Marine fouling is accumulation of micro organisms, plants, algae, and/or animals on wetted surfaces. These organisms form a fouling community, which can be divided into:
Micro-fouling: Biofilm formation bacterial adhesion. Appears as layers of bacterial slimes.
Macro-fouling: Attachment of larger organisms (barnacles, mussels, seaweed, etc.).
Antifouling treatment is often deemed necessary in cooling water and other service water systems.
Fouling in seawater cooling systems
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.
Fouling contamination of water systems can result in:
- Overheating of sea water cooled machineries.
- Blocked pipes for firefighting leading to dangerous situations.
- 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 CO2or H2.