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Experimental Assessments for the Effect of CU2O on the Roughness and Drag Characteristics of Marine Coatings

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Chang LiORCiD, Professor Mehmet Atlar, Dr Maryam HaroutunianORCiD, Dr Rosemary NormanORCiD, Craig Anderson



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of a conference proceedings (inc. abstract) published in its final definitive form in 2019. For re-use rights please refer to the publishers terms and conditions.


Copper oxide (Cu2O) is an active antifouling agent that can provide an effective mechanism for producing fouling free surfaces. Commercially, before being formulated into antifouling (AF), copper oxide is made in a range of different particle sizes, which can alter the roughness of the finished surfaces. The effects of particle size on the drag performance of antifouling coatings, and hence on ship hull resistance, as well as biofilm attachment, have not been explored and studied systematically. As a result, their is no guidance for ship owners or paint developers to make an optimised selection of Cu2O size. In order provide a rationale for selecting the optimum coating, a number of different sized Cu2O particles were applied on Newcastle University’s (UNEW) standard acrylic flat test panels. These panels were fitted to a special wall type insert where they were subjected to different dynamic flow speeds in the testing section of the UNEW Emerson Cavitation Tunnel (ECT) for hydrodynamic evaluation. The boundary layer characteristics of the UNEW test surfaces were measured by using the two-dimensional Laser Doppler Velocimetry (LDV) system of the ECT. Additionally, the same surfaces were also tested for pressure drop by using UNEW’s fully turbulent flow channel (FTFC) for frictional drag investigation, using both clean and fouled surfaces. The frictional drag penalties were estimated based on the coated panel skin friction data, compared to the uncoated acrylic control panels. Furthermore, in order to evaluate the effect of biofilm on the drag characteristics of these Cu2O surfaces under “in-service” conditions, the test panels were mounted on the research vessel “The Princess Royal” and examined every six weeks during a sixmonth dynamic/static immersion period. Surface roughness characteristics of all test surfaces were analysed by using an optical surface profilometer. Macrostructure and microstructure observations were achieved using topography mapping and a Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The essence of the paper is to provide vital feedback on the selection of the optimised Cu2O size and the use of dedicated/novel experimental approaches to provide such unique feedback.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Li C, Atlar M, Haroutunian M, Norman RA, Anderson C

Publication type: Conference Proceedings (inc. Abstract)

Publication status: Published

Conference Name: The Sixth International Conference on Advanced Model Measurement Technology for The Maritime Industry (AMT'19)

Year of Conference: 2019

Online publication date: 09/10/2019

Acceptance date: 21/07/2019

Date deposited: 15/10/2019