The Challenge of Non Fouling Surfaces: Polymers could be the Answer
The immersion of engineered materials in water environment such as sea water, industrial waters (heat exchangers, pipes), body fluids, etc., is always accompanied by an accumulation and colonization of their surfaces with biological matter and water born organism (e.g. bacteria, barnacles, algae, etc.). This process, known as biofouling, affects detrimentally the materials and related devices performance in many applications. For example, biofouling of ship hulls causes reduction in the ship speed and increases the fuel consumption up to ~ 40% more as compared to the non-fouled vehicles . Moreover, the greenhouse gas production increases and the formed biofilms spread the water born organism around the world – a process that could destroy the balance in sensitive ecosystems. Biofouling on measuring instruments used in sea, oceans and on the coast could significantly affect the data quality and the instrument performance .