Issue 29, 2019

Stress-localized durable anti-biofouling surfaces


Growing demands for bio-friendly antifouling surfaces have stimulated the development of new and ever-improving material paradigms. Despite notable progress in bio-friendly coatings, the biofouling problem remains a critical challenge. In addition to biofouling characteristics, mechanically stressed surfaces such as ship hulls, piping systems, and heat exchangers require long-term durability in marine environments. Here, we introduce a new generation of anti-biofouling coatings with superior characteristics and high mechanical, chemical and environmental durability. In these surfaces, we have implemented the new physics of stress localization to minimize the adhesion of bio-species on the coatings. This polymeric material contains dispersed organogels in a high shear modulus matrix. Interfacial cavitation induced at the interface of bio-species and organogel particles leads to stress localization and detachment of bio-species from these surfaces with minimal shear stress. In a comprehensive study, the performance of these surfaces is assessed for both soft and hard biofouling including Ulva, bacteria, diatoms, barnacles and mussels, and is compared with that of state-of-the-art surfaces. These surfaces show Ulva accumulation of less than 1%, minimal bacterial biofilm growth, diatom attachment of 2%, barnacle adhesion of 0.02 MPa and mussel adhesion of 7.5 N. These surfaces promise a new physics-based route to address the biofouling problem and avoid adverse effects of biofouling on the environment and relevant technologies.

Graphical abstract: Stress-localized durable anti-biofouling surfaces

Article information

Article type
17 Apr 2019
28 Jun 2019
First published
01 Jul 2019

Soft Matter, 2019,15, 6014-6026

Author version available

Stress-localized durable anti-biofouling surfaces

B. Eslami, P. Irajizad, P. Jafari, M. Nazari, A. Masoudi, V. Kashyap, S. Stafslien and H. Ghasemi, Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 6014 DOI: 10.1039/C9SM00790C

To request permission to reproduce material from this article, please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

If you are an author contributing to an RSC publication, you do not need to request permission provided correct acknowledgement is given.

If you are the author of this article, you do not need to request permission to reproduce figures and diagrams provided correct acknowledgement is given. If you want to reproduce the whole article in a third-party publication (excluding your thesis/dissertation for which permission is not required) please go to the Copyright Clearance Center request page.

Read more about how to correctly acknowledge RSC content.

Social activity