Silicone Anti-fouling

Definition - What does Silicone Anti-fouling mean?

Silicone anti-fouling is the use of silicone-based compounds in coatings to prevent marine organisms from attaching and growing on submerged structures. The silicone-based compound is added to the coating as an additive or as the main component or binder of a resin. These silicone-based coatings are hydrophobic and produce smooth surfaces, which make it difficult for marine organisms such as algae, tubeworms and barnacles to attach to the coated surface.

Silicone-based anti-fouling paints are said to be “fouling-release” or “nonstick.” Marine organisms may still be able to bind to these surfaces, but with less strength so they are easily removed. Although the main purpose of these coatings is anti-fouling, some coatings may provide other useful properties such as anti-corrosion and temperature compatibility.

Corrosionpedia explains Silicone Anti-fouling

The anti-fouling properties of silicone-based coatings are modulated by the following factors:

  • Surface energy
  • Coating modulus (elasticity)
  • Coat thickness

Although lowering the surface energy reduces the ability of organisms to attach, silicone anti-fouling is enhanced by modifying the coating’s elastic modulus and thickness.

Silicon anti-fouling coatings often consist of the following components:

  • Epoxy or silane primer
  • Elastomeric silicone tie coat
  • Elastomeric silicone top coat with a release additive

Silicone anti-fouling solutions are an alternative to less desirable toxic solutions such as organo-tin compounds and copper-based systems.

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