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Transportation Science Technology

Synthetic Sebum Makes Slippery Sailboats 128

Posted by timothy
from the so-say-we-all dept.
sonnejw0 writes "Sea-faring vessels are a major contributor of greenhouse gas production due to a deficit in international laws and inherent inefficiencies at sea, such as barnacle build-up on hulls. Many marine animals avoid the build-up of drag-inducing barnacles through secreting oily residues from their pores or through the nano-molecular arrangement of their skin. Sailors regularly defoul their hulls, removing the barnacles at dry-dock, which requires them to reduce the amount of time they have at sea. Some synthetic chemicals in paints have been used to prevent barnacle build-up but have been found to be toxic to marine animals and thus outlawed by several nations. Now, engineers are trying to replicate the skin of marine animals to produce a slippery hull to which marine bacteria cannot attach, saving fuel costs and improving speeds."
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Synthetic Sebum Makes Slippery Sailboats

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  • by RenHoek (101570) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @09:14AM (#29580015) Homepage

    The image of a smegma producing sail yacht is now stuck in my head!

    Where's the brain bleach when you need it!

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by NoYob (1630681)
      Sebum - white shit that causes zits.

      I was thinking of ships with zits. Of course, as the ship gets older, it will probably grow out of it. It will be bad for the ships that ship chocolate and potato chips!

      • ...and no, you don't grow out of it.

        Any further discussion would be TMI.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by oldspewey (1303305)
          Sunlight is said to help ... so hop to it, the basement stairs are right there at the end of the room.
        • by Gilmoure (18428)

          Tell me about it. Receding hair line, grey in my beard and I still get zits? WTF? And they call this 'intelligent design'?

          • by tabrnaker (741668)
            Unfortunately, the intelligent design requires an intelligent operator to work as designed.
          • by ppanon (16583)
            It could very well be things in your diet. For instance I find that I break out if I eat salami and some other deli meats; I'm guessing that it might be the nitrates. For some others, it can be milk products. The best way to find out is to go on a hypo-allergenic diet [hypoallergenicdiet.com], and slowly re-introduce your regular foods. Re-introduce one major item group per week since there can be more of a delay for acne breakout than for regular allergies.
        • What does Three Mile Island have to do with it? Will your face do a meltdown?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Dude, what what would you do if I told you (truthfully!) that sebum is all over your body? It's all over your hair, your skin, etc.

      Yeah. That's because sebum is a term that refers to the natural oils that coat your hair and skin. It's what makes your hair and skin waterproof and what protects them from drying out.

      • Re:Oh dear lord (Score:5, Informative)

        by sonnejw0 (1114901) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @10:25AM (#29580999)
        Yeah, sebum is the natural oily product of the sebaceous glands that surround hair follicles. Zits are formed when sebaceous glands are blocked, resulting in a build-up for sebum WITHIN the hair follicle and/or gland. This build-up can occur due to a bacterial infection, skin sloughing, or excess sebum itself, excess sebum being produced by the sudden increase of systemic testosterone in pubescent years, as a result of repeated and frequent sexual stimulation post-pubescent, or exogenous oils and saturated fats from processed foods and meats can be secreted and are highly likely to obstruct these very pores.

        The sebaceous glands can recalibrate themselves eventually to this increased testosterone concentration, or the testosterone concentration can descrease with age or activity, or the elasticity of the skin can result in increase pore size, allowing greater flow. Massaging of the skin under hot water with soap could be a preventive measure in done regularly and at a young enough age. I would avoid harsh peroxides as they do not attack the underlying cause, even if caused by a bacterial infection it will probably not be entirely effective. The pores need to be cleansed, and peroxides are very effective at damaging DNA resulting in skin cancer later in life.

        I am not an M.D., but a Ph.D. student, and I had horrible sebaceous cysts when I was a teenager. So I can commiserate with the issue. Too bad I didn't realize back then that daily fast food was the cause of my problems and not the 'yummy' solution to my psychological needs I thought it was. Now, fast-food makes me sick that I know what is in it and how my teenage years of indiscretion will probably result in a heart-attack in mid-life, not discounting 5 years of misery, physically and psychologically. I bicycle 6 miles a day, now, and cook all of my own foods at home and I love life and social occasions. It's a lot harder to make those kinds of choices as a teenager, though. Peer pressure and the mental cloud of hormones makes it difficult to think for yourself, even when you think you are.
        • by sonnejw0 (1114901)
          Oh, and definitely don't pop them on your own! That will just clog/infect surrounding pores and permanently damage the pore that's clogged, resulting in more cysts overall. A dermatologist can remove the cystic fluids easily and carefully in ways you cannot on your own. I did not heed that advice when I was a teenager, I wish I had.
          Really, just get a good dermatologist, it can become a serious problem very quickly.
          • by bar-agent (698856)

            Oh, and definitely don't pop them on your own! That will just clog/infect surrounding pores and permanently damage the pore that's clogged, resulting in more cysts overall. A dermatologist can remove the cystic fluids easily and carefully in ways you cannot on your own. I did not heed that advice when I was a teenager, I wish I had.

            Really? Who can afford to go to go to a dermatologist twice a week for zit clearing?

        • by R2.0 (532027)

          "as a result of repeated and frequent sexual stimulation post-pubescent,"

          'Scuse me?

    • I think real bleach works quite well with removing thoughts from your brain... just drill a hole and in it goes. Just don't expect any new thoughts to occur in that area... ever... ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I would have been the "first post", but, well there were too many potential jokes.
    I really like "Sailors regularly defoul their hulls", but then there's the "Sebum"/"Semen" play on words which is always popular.
    "dry-dock" change some letters...
    oh my goodness I just can't decide, so I've lost my first post chance.
    So I guess I'll just RTFA and ponder how OpenBSD would help with this problem without even making a "soviet russia" or "natalie portman" reference

    • by nospam007 (722110) *

      I really like "Sailors regularly defoul their hulls", but then there's the "Sebum"/"Semen" play on words which is always popular.

      It's a slippery slope.

  • It's a start (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @09:18AM (#29580055) Journal

    A surface that inhibits barnacles is only a start, for there are other things one can do to make a ship more eco-friendly

    One if obviously a more fuel efficient engine

    The other is to improve the design of the propeller to make it more efficient while lessen the drag

    Then there is the need for a much lighter material for the construction of the ships

    Last but not least, new designs of ships are also needed.

    • Re:It's a start (Score:4, Interesting)

      by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @09:28AM (#29580193)

      Go Nuke. They did it once http://www.atomicengines.com/ships.html [atomicengines.com], but made it more of a 'show' boat than a work horse.

      * The Savannah was designed as a showboat. Her purpose was to demonstrate American technology as part of the "Atoms for Peace" program. Pretty lines and luxurious staterooms were more important than cargo capacity or loading ease.
      * She made politically motivated port calls, not economically motivated ones.
      * She was a one of a kind ship, required to support a specialized infrastructure by herself.
      * There were some difficulties with union negotiations. She spent almost a year tied to the pier because of the deck officers did not want the engineers to make more money than they did.

      With the air craft carriers no one seems to have a NIMBY problem. You could move quite a bit of cargo with a few lbs of uranium.

      So it'll require hiring some more staff (Like an actual engineer and maybe some armed guards). The US Navy has managed to not have any nuclear powered vessel captured by pirates.

      Heck I wouldn't have a huge problem if the US Government wanted to own and operate a super-super cargo ship if it ran on Nuclear energy. The amount of oil those ships burn is measured in thousands of gallons per mile.

      • Re:It's a start (Score:4, Informative)

        by smooth wombat (796938) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @09:47AM (#29580507) Homepage Journal
        Heck I wouldn't have a huge problem if the US Government wanted to own and operate a super-super cargo ship if it ran on Nuclear energy. The amount of oil those ships burn is measured in thousands of gallons per mile.

        I know you're trying to make a point about using nuclear energy to power ships rather than burning fuel, but let's not go overboard on the amount of fuel being burned per mile. According to WikiAnswers, if a cargo ship travels at 30 mph (roughly 26 knots), it burns 120 gallons per mile [answers.com].

        Granted, as the second item on that page relates, most container ships burn bunker fuel but the calculation is still the same. Even taking into consideration the size of ultra-large cargo ships, they don't use anywhere near thousands of gallons per mile to move across the water.
        • GP was correct (Score:1, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          It *is* measured in thousands of GPM:

          120 gallons per mile == 0.12 thousands of gallons per mile

          See?

        • Re:It's a start (Score:5, Informative)

          by Red Flayer (890720) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @10:40AM (#29581217) Journal

          According to WikiAnswers, if a cargo ship travels at 30 mph (roughly 26 knots), it burns 120 gallons per mile.

          The largest container ships in the word operate on diesel engines with about 114000 HP at 25.5 knots. The engines consume (at peak efficiency, not regular operating conditions) 0.260 lbs/hp/hr of fuel. Diesel is around 7 lbs/gal, so the calc works out to about 144 gals/mile... at peak efficiency.

          I saw your claim and thought, "What about superfreighters?" After some back-of-the-envelope calculation, I'm surprised at their relative fuel efficiency...

          However, they're still dirty, dirty ships. One superfreighter releases the same SOx emissions as 50 million passenger cars. So even though the fuel usage isn't as bad as it one might think, there are other reasons why nuclear would be better.

          • I agree that nuclear would be better. I was merely trying to correct the hyperbole the OP said about ships using "thousands of gallons" per mile. If that were the case, the entire ship would be nothing but a fuel tanker and unable to haul cargo.

      • Go Full Sail (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Tekfactory (937086)

        We did it once upon a time.

        Apparently Supertankers and Cargo ships have cut their speeds down to 10 knots to save fuel, some of the greatest Cargo ships of the Age of Sail managed 13 knots no dinosaur juice needed.

        And everything one of the other posters cited about better materials and new designs still applies.

        Flettner Rotors are more efficient than conventional sails, they failed because Diesel was just too cheap.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotor_ship [wikipedia.org]

        Enercon a Wind Turbine company built a Rotor Assisted

        • Full sail is not physically possible for the size of ships today. Large container ships are orders of magnitude more dense, and also carry orders of magnitude more cargo. Even if you could sail, tight control is needed due to high winds in ports with small channels blowing ships off course, not possible with sails. Large shipping companies pour millions into R&D to reduce fuel costs because even a 1% reduction in fuel cost nets millions of dollars in savings for these companies. The reason you don't
          • Not only is there the difficulty of getting into many harbours with large sailing ships, but we should also remember that sailing ships cannot sail directly into the wind, and make some leeway when sailing across the wind. This means that the Suez and Panama canals are effectively impassable under sail, and so tugs would be needed to avoid the much longer journeys around the south. There is also the issue of calms, and the need to follow the trade winds. These will cause massive variability in shipping sch

      • by kalirion (728907)

        With the air craft carriers no one seems to have a NIMBY problem. You could move quite a bit of cargo with a few lbs of uranium.

        So it'll require hiring some more staff (Like an actual engineer and maybe some armed guards). The US Navy has managed to not have any nuclear powered vessel captured by pirates.

        Ok, so now we'll need to protect cargo ships same way that we do aircraft carriers. Hmm, do we have enough battleships for escort?

        • by mayko (1630637)

          Ok, so now we'll need to protect cargo ships same way that we do aircraft carriers. Hmm, do we have enough battleships for escort?

          The fleet that accompanies an aircraft carrier is not for pirate protection... they are there to protect against submarines and battleships, and to resupply the aircraft with fuel and munitions.

          Forgive me if I'm not giving the pirates enough credit, but until they have modern submarines and battleships, or fighter/bombers... then I think a few armed guards with sniper rifles

          • by PPH (736903)

            Forgive me if I'm not giving the pirates enough credit, but until they have modern submarines and battleships, or fighter/bombers... then I think a few armed guards with sniper rifles and maybe a large caliber deck gun would suffice.

            Many foreign governments frown on (as in its illegal) the possession of so much as a handgun by unauthorized personnel in their territorial waters.

            But then the easy solution would be to work out a set of international regulations permitting commercial vessels to be so armed. Countries could elect to sign such an agreement or not. Nuclear powered vessels would only be permitted to operate in international waters, or where they are able to avail themselves of the proper security. If nukes prove to be such a

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          The only US battleships left are museum ships or in reserve.
          Actually a nuclear powered ship would be well defended from pirates by not slowing down to save fuel and not sailing near dangerous areas to save fuel.

      • Wouldn't a better comparison be between Ships and Freight trains?
        Mostly going in relatively straight lines with limited (compared to trucks) ports.
        Sorry, no car analogy.

    • Re:It's a start (Score:4, Informative)

      by Weh (219305) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @09:45AM (#29580467)

      ehm, have you ever studied ships?

      Large ships already have extremely efficient two stroke diesel engines (even over 50% which is extremely high if you consider the carnot max) They also have many devices to recover waste heat.

      Propeller designs are already very sophisticated, difficult to improve there.

      weight: the weight of the ship is very low relative to the amount of cargo it carries (compared to e.g. a truck). Also, the ship sails at relatively low speeds and mostly in a straight line so acceleration/deceleration losses that increase with mass are not really a factor.

      All in all cargo ships are already the most efficient mode of transport on a fuel/cargo weight-distance ratio basis.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Well, my farts probably produce 100 times as much SOx emissions as the vehicles I drive. It's not terribly meaningful to compare two different fuel sources.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The Emma Maersk class freighters carry about 154,000 tons of cargo. Given the earlier ballpark of 144 gallons per mile, that works out to about 1070 ton-miles per gallon. Compare that to a F150 which can make 28 ton-miles per gallon...

        I'm sure at the fuel expenses the shipping companies have, saving a percent or two would be huge.

    • by WhiteDragon (4556)

      One other way to increase efficiency of a ship is a Bulbous Bow [wikipedia.org]

  • Next Up.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Azarael (896715) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @09:20AM (#29580089) Homepage

    Genetically engineered whales with a built in cargo hold. You just have to train them well, and take advantage of their natural migration patterns..

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      As fun a thought as it is, I occasionally have the opportunity of working with wild bottlenose dolphins - a species that sheds the outer layer of its skin extremely often, and yet we will still see in-shore animals disappear for a few months, most likely going into deeper waters, only to return later with barnacles attached to the tip of their dorsals.

      Now either the barnacles are very, very good at attaching themselves to anything - or there's some freaky dolphin/barnacle action going on in deep waters ;)

    • "Homing Whales!" I like it! Now, all we have to do is fill them up with flash drives, and make some asinine data-rate comparrison with an ISP.
      • by Gilmoure (18428)

        How many LoC's ('prox 20 TB circa 2007) can be transported by whale vs. my '70 Impala?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by pz (113803)

      Genetically engineered whales with a built in cargo hold. You just have to train them well, and take advantage of their natural migration patterns..

      Ever watch Farscape? The primary vessel in that sci-fi TV series is a space-faring biomechanoid leviathan, one of a class of spaceships that serve mostly as cargo transport. Yep, that's right, just as you suggest, they are genetically engineered whales!

      • Yep, that's right, just as you suggest, they are genetically engineered whales!

        Fuck THAT. All it takes is one near miss or a bad storm off the Philippines, and the next thing you know, your ship is spooked and your shipment of Nintendo DSes is sitting inside the whale in the middle of Abbey Road!

    • You can hold them in tanks made of transparent aluminum during training. I guarantee that it'll hold whales as you transport them to the future in your spacecraft.
    • Lemme guess, you'll want to guard them with sharks with friggin lazers!

    • Errant preachers travel for free! *

      * select destinations only.

  • by bostei2008 (1441027) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @09:26AM (#29580169)

    ... stopped reading after the headline...

  • Why isn't some sort of non-stick coating such as Teflon not an option?

    • Re:Teflon? (Score:4, Informative)

      by eric2hill (33085) <eric&ijack,net> on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @09:41AM (#29580401) Homepage

      The glue that barnacles produce will stick to Teflon.

      Here is an old 2005 article [nationalgeographic.com] similar to this concept that talks about using a "skin" similar to shark skin to combat the barnacles.

    • I wondered this too. I would imagine the America's Cup boats would have this already, as cost seems to not be a concern.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by fprintf (82740)

        America's cup boats typically are hauled out of the water after every days racing. There is little opportunity for stuff to stick to them because they are always moving, and anything that does stick is washed off. Furthermore there is a ton of work done at low reynolds numbers and boundary layers to ensure the boat bottoms are as efficient as possible - including micro-grooving the bottom material. I am not sure about America's cup, but in many racing series it is against the rules to add any shedding coat

  • Fire Hose Liner? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by handy_vandal (606174) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @09:40AM (#29580379) Homepage Journal
    Maybe we can line fire hoses [wikipedia.org] with this amazingly slippery material?
    • I don't think you'd want to line a fire hose. Aren't they made from cloth because cloth seeps water slowly so that if the hose is run through a firey area it won't burn? If you lined the hose then fire would burn it. ALTHOUGH, you can boil water in a paper cup held over a candle, but then the cup is thin. If you lined the hose, then the liner would burn if it it was on the outside, and the structural cloth would burn if it were on the inside, I think.
      • by Anenome (1250374)

        Fire hoses are already heat-resistant woven material + a rubber liner. They get wet and have to be dried because they're there when tons of water are being sprayed in all directions at a fire. And, if firefighters are doing their job right, you'll never see a line running through a fire, ever. That would mean they've been cut off by the flame and have bigger problems than a line in the fire. Although, I wonder if that's ever happened and a hole got burned in the line resulting in catastrophic loss of water

  • Staple Gun and Baby Seals? /me ducks
  • "nano-molecular arrangement of their skin"

    What does this even mean? Isn't it just the 'molecular arrangement of their skin"? Buzzwords are for business majors
  • Why not make the hull full of indentations like a golf ball, that way the barnacles would fill in the spaces and make the ship more efficient....
  • Sebum is the stuff that, if not properly emitted by your skin, can form a sebaceous cyst. They're pretty disgusting to drain, although sometimes doctors will just surgically remove the whole offending gland.

    If you want to be grossed out, have a look:

    http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80740591/ [ebaumsworld.com]

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8fsco3C_Zc [youtube.com]

    BTW, don't pop them yourself as you can get dangerous infections of you mess up. Doctors can deal with them really easily, so it's worth it to go to one if you can when y

  • Say that three times quickly
  • ... until you realize you'll still have to send someone under the hull to make sure your opponent hasn't ice-picked a towel to your keel.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Wouldn't that save more fuel in something other than a *sail*-boat?!

  • Am I the only one who thought of this? "Synthetic Sebum Makes Slippery Sailboats", if you know what I mean. *wink* *wink*
  • ... trying to replicate the skin of marine animals to produce a slippery hull ...

    So it's back to Whale Oil is it? Queequeg [wikipedia.org] will be pleased.

  • by RobVB (1566105) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @11:27AM (#29581849)

    Sea-faring vessels are a major contributor of greenhouse gas production due to a deficit in international laws and inherent inefficiencies at sea, such as barnacle build-up on hulls.

    Sea-faring vessels are the single most efficient way of transporting goods we have. The reason they're a big contributor of greenhouse gas production is that our global economy requires that a lot of goods are transported around the world. Try transporting thousands of containers across thousands of miles by truck (please, don't actually try this, it's bad for the environment).

    The IMO [imo.org] (wikipedia [wikipedia.org]) is one of the most widely acknowledged international authorities on anything. They've made a lot of internationally respected laws, improving sea transport on many levels, including the environmental effects.

    It's true that hull fouling is a problem for ships. It's also true that many (especially large) ships burn Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO), which contains a lot of pollutants (like sulfur) and isn't as clean as, say, diesel oil. It's also true that ships burn a lot of HFO, and it's true that ships further pollute the seas by dumping garbage overboard.

    However, while the amounts of HFO burned by, say, the Emma Maersk [wikipedia.org], are enormous (about 300 metric tonnes per day at full operation), this is almost nothing when compared to trucks. Assuming 300mt/day at a cruise speed of 25 knots (over 45km/h), that equates to roughly 30 tonnes per 100 km. A semi-trailer truck pulling two TEU containers [wikipedia.org] runs at around 30 liter per 100 km (that's around 8 mpg, anyone that can confirm this number?). This means the Emma Maersk, carrying 14000 TEU, uses 1000 times as much fuel as a truck carrying 2 TEU, which makes this ship about 7 times as fuel efficient as trucks.

    And another thing: with HFO costing 300-400 dollars per metric ton, the Emma Maersk burns up about 100,000 dollars per day when running at full capacity (this almost never happens, especially now with the economic crisis, but bear with me). That's about 3 million dollars a month in fuel. The Emma Maersk is crewed by a minimum of 13 seafarers, but let's take 20 for easier calculations, since it's probably closer to reality anyway. Suppose each of those 20 people earn 10,000 dollars a month (which is a lot - maybe the Captain, Chief Officer and Chief Engineer make this much... just maybe). That means total crewing costs for this ship would be 200,000 dollars a month, with fuel costs 15 times higher. What I'm trying to say here is this: it's in the companies' best interest to improve their fuel economy. A 7% increase in fuel efficiency would save them more money than not having to pay the crew. I'm fairly certain there are no cheap and easy ways to drastically reduce fuel usage, or they would have thought of it by now.

    All of this is not to say that there isn't room for improvement in the maritime transportation business, far from it. This research and other research like it can and will do great things for the shipping industry and the environment. I just didn't like how the summary made the industry the bad guy here.

    P.S. If you want to read more about the IMO's actions on air pollution: go nuts [imo.org].

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PPalmgren (1009823)
      That vessel, the Emma Maersk and her sisters, save 1200 metric tons of fuel a year with environmentally friendly silicone paint used up to the high water line. 1200mt * $300/mt = $360,000 * 8 ships = 2.88 million a year. The fuel savings is a little over 1% of yearly operation. 1% is serious business. It is in their best interest to chase fuel efficiency, and they do so with millions in R&D.
    • I'm fairly certain there are no cheap and easy ways to drastically reduce fuel usage, or they would have thought of it by now.

      They thought of it a looooong time ago. Time to start using it again!:
      http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/01/22/2143897.htm [abc.net.au]

  • as the article summary implies. They're crustaceans (thus related to crabs and lobsters), their phylum is arthropod.
    • Never mind, as I read further into TFA, it appears that the larger organisms, such as arthropods, get their foothold from bacteria, and that this new "skin" that's being developed is therefore primarily anti-bacterial. The article summary probably could have been worded to make this connection more obvious, but there's only so much that can be done in the limited space available...
  • I live in an area with lots of small interconnected lakes and streams. We have big problems with invasive species attaching themselves to boats as they move through different waterways (the zebra mussel is one good example), this kind of material would be great for even smaller applications like motorboats that traverse these water ways to decrease invasive species proliferation.
    • Species travels to new location on it's own, on another animal, on a boat, truck, or whatever.

      Species takes root and kicks ass. Weaker species die out. It's just nature doing its thing. I think Disney wrote a song about it.

      What you're preaching is segregation.

  • Synthetic Dandruff.
  • They've banned tributyltin? We were supposed to haul out my Mom's boat last year. Snooze, you lose.

  • Sea-faring vessels are a major contributor of greenhouse gas production due to a deficit in international laws [...] toxic to marine animals and thus outlawed by several nations

    It seems, that when it really matters, national laws banning undesirable practices are quite effective...

  • This is nothing new. The 1987 U.S. America's Cup challenger Stars and Stripes pioneered the idea of having a specifically structured texture on the outer hull. Source (see page 60) [google.com].
    Later on the internaional yacht racing rules [sailing.org] were amended with rule no. 53,

    A boat shall not eject or release a substance, such as a polymer, or have specially textured surfaces that could improve the character of the flow of water inside the boundary layer.

    .
    The Stars and Stripes design was to use microscopic V-grooves alongside

    • by PPH (736903)

      Yeahbut, leave that expensive, micro-grooved hull sitting in sea water for a year or two and see what the barnacle buildup looks like.

      On the other hand, rule 53 doesn't apply to cargo ships. Anything that doesn't poison the fish is fair game.

  • How about this? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mencomenco (551866)

    Has anyone tried adding the well-known Microban additives to marine paints?

    TFA states that barnacle infestation begins with filming of bacteria on the hull, followed by algea eating the bacteria, then barnacles feeding on the algea.

    Some Microban additives puncture bacteria and hence kill them. They are used in kitchen and medical equipment and institutional wall paints. Why not attack the root of the food chain rather than the top rung?

  • "or through the nano-molecular arrangement of their skin" should be "or through their skin".

    Oh wait, we talked about pores already?
    The entire sentence should be dropped.

    Not everything has to be nano, cyber, 2.0, cloud-based, or other such bullshit, kids.

  • We could just keelhaul more people. They'll scrape all the crap right off the bottom of your ship. Or they'll get stuck down there and create a bigger problem. Either way, it's entertainment. Yar.
  • by vinsci (537958) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @05:18PM (#29586159) Journal
    I thought this was a solved problem: http://www.coppercoat.com/ [coppercoat.com]. Britain's biggest sailing magazine (and many others) has good results with it:

    In the December 2007 edition of Practical Boat Owner, the editor Sarah Norbury extolls the virtues of Coppercoat after a 14-year test on her family boat, a Starlight 39. She writes: "Our experience with Coppercoat has been fantastic. In all the 14 years we've never had a barnacle, seaweed, nothing.... The original claim for our Coppercoat was that it would last 10 years and many people were sceptical. Our test proves the doubters wrong."

    I guess good news travels slowly. ;-)

  • by anethema (99553) on Tuesday September 29, 2009 @05:23PM (#29586199) Homepage
    For pleasure yacht sailors this is a big topic.

    It is a constant battle against marine life which wants to live on any part of the hull in the water.

    The main antifouling up to now which has been very effective is hard bottom paints containing Tributyltin. wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tributyltin

    This has unfortunately been proven to be fairly toxic to marine life and has consequently been banned worldwide for all craft under a certain length. Not sure of the length but large shipping vessels and somewhat the navy etc are still using it as it really is the only proven way to do a good job keeping that bottom clean.

    All modern antifoulings for pleasure yachts are now based one of two things. One is a copper (copper oxide) mixed with various biocides. This is a hard type paint, often merely ground copper mixed with epoxy. This will give you a very smooth finish, and it depends on the copper (which most marine life doesn't like) and the biocides to keep the hull fairly clean. You have to dive under once in a while and scrub the hull down. Small price to pay for sailing around paradise!

    The other type used is called an 'ablative' paint which may or may not contain copper/biocides but is meant to flake off itself as the marine life grows on it. This does not work for boats that live more at marinas with little sailing time, and requires bottom-jobs on the boat more often. The upside is that it is much easier to apply and does not require as much hull cleaning.

    It all comes down to..if they could invent something that did not require frequent haulouts and kept your hull clean and smooth, they could easily charge $500 per gallon of the stuff and people would be lining up to pay for it.
  • you could just go to a developer's conference and harvest sebum there...
  • Not suitable for all (Score:2, Interesting)

    by puslik (38224)
    Not and option for sailing racing boats - International Sailing Federation [sailing.org] Racing Rules of Sailing [sailing.org] prohibit this kind of solution: "53 SKIN FRICTION A boat shall not eject or release a substance, such as a polymer, or have specially textured surfaces that could improve the character of the flow of water inside the boundary layer."

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