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Brunel has taken a successful coating and made it better

Coatings specialist Brunel Marine Coatings Systems launched an enhanced version of its EnviroMarine system in January 2015. The company says that its decision to invest in an extensive research and development programme for an already successful product might appear to be counter-intuitive, especially in today’s challenging market conditions. In 2010, Brunel was commended for its product, when flag and class approved the first ever tonnage to be allowed a ten year interval drydocking programme, on condition that EnviroMarine was the coating applied to the full underwater hull.

The decision to undertake a new research and development programme was underpinned by a mix of environmental and financial considerations, as well as today’s better understanding of coating technology.

Development work on the new product started with the question: how does marine growth start on the hull? If it could be eliminated at its root, any attachment could easily be removed without damaging the coating’s durable and ultra-smooth surface. Solvents and biocides were ruled out.

It was also recognised that any new coating would need to be future-proofed against legislation. This led to the decision that the new coating would not contain any volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The original formulation for Brunel EnviroMarine was reassessed. Brunel entered into consultation with the industry and also engaged two independent testing facilities, one in Europe and the other in the USA, to verify the product.

The enhanced formulation is more durable and smoother than its predecessor. It is nonporous and resistant to a greater range of temperatures and operating environments. Like the original EnviroMarine, it comes with a ten year guarantee.

marine coatings

Thruster tunnels are amoung the areas most prone to cavitation. Brunel’s 100 per cent solids systems are said to offer superior protection versus conventional, solvented and soft coatings.

 

Enviromarine

This vessel was originally coated with Enviromarine in 2000. At a 2010 dry-docking, before washing, the coating was still very much in tact.

Briefing: EnviroMarine

Since 2000, when the original EnviroMarine was launched, many other coating systems have been introduced into the market.

Coatings relying on leaching oils have been found to be vulnerable to even mild mechanical action, even during cleaning, and are difficult and costly to apply and repair. Systems which require specialised application equipment, heating or dilution have proved problematic and ultimately, costly. There are even systems which are inherently so rough that they specify the need for divers to grind the surface after the vessel has been launched and rely on further depletion of the coating during subsequent cleanings to reduce the surface roughness.

A welcome development in the market is the potential of solutions such as ultrasonic systems installed on a hull. These use sound frequency to create a veil of cavitation, which acts as a powerful deterrent to most marine organisms. Brunel Marine Coatings Systems believes in the potential of this approach and looks forward to complementary co-operation, once the system has been appraised and has proved its effectiveness.

The traditional approach to dealing with marine growth has been to incorporate biocides into the coating system. These, with varying effectiveness, kill the marine organisms. At the same time, however, this results in the depletion of the coating system, and of the biocides themselves. To compensate for this, the coating is designed to shed when the hydrodynamic resistance caused by the marine growth (now free to propagate in the absence of biocides) increases. It is for these reasons that the industry has come to accept that coatings have a finite lifespan.

EnviroMarine is a 100 per cent solid, twin component system, applied with conventional equipment (in two coats, onto specified substrate), regardless of humidity and without the need for shrouding.

Environmentally, it contains no biocides, metals or silicates. At application it has no odour and no volatile organic compound (VOC) content. It cures naturally to a smooth surface consistently measured, on site, at just a fraction of one micron. This supports hull efficiency and environmental performance.

EnviroMarine coating

Some 9.000 sq mtrs of EnviroMarine was applied in 14 hours, in high humidity. The gloss occurs naturally during curing.

 

Fouling has debilitating effect on performance. A silicone based system shows its limitations.

Fouling has debilitating effect on performance. A silicone based system shows its limitations.