Antifouling coatings based on amphiphilic networks
Any surface immersed in seawater is prone to settlement of micro/macroscopic marine organisms (i.e. bacteria, algae, mollusks). This phenomenon known as biofouling leads to premature material degradation (e.g. biocorrosion) accompanied by an increase in surface roughness which in turn increases fuel consumption.
To this day the most commercialized antifouling technologies remain biocide releasing coatings. Throughout the years, the growing number of legislations limiting the use of biocidal substances in the marine environment has impelled academics and industrials to focus on the development of alternative and more sustainable coatings.
The objective of this project is to design novel amphiphilic polymer networks for antifouling applications. The efficiency of these elastomer coatings will rely mainly on the amphiphilic nature of their surface originating from the juxtaposition of hydrophobic and hydrophilic segments. The chemical heterogeneity of these surfaces is expected to hinder the adhesion of micro/macro-organisms and promote self-cleaning properties during low speed navigation or static conditions. Several strategies such as interpenetrating polymer networks (IPN) and hydrolyzable silicone networks will be considered.