NDSU leading international research team to protect Naval vessels from fouling

NDSU leading international research team to protect Naval vessels from fouling


NDSU has received a three-year, $5,792,117 grant from the Office of Naval Research to combat contaminants on ship hulls and ice on ship structures.

“Infrastructure is constantly plagued by the settlement of environmental contaminants that are often challenging to remove,” said Dean Webster, professor and chair of the coatings and polymeric materials department at NDSU. “Surface contamination often leads to loss of performance or early degradation and decomposition. One way to address this is by applying coatings that can resist the settlement and adhesion of different contaminants and allow for their easy cleaning.”

Contaminants on ship hulls increase drag, impair ship operations, lead to excessive fuel consumption and may transfer foreign invasive biological species. Ice accumulation can impair antenna operation, compromise rescue equipment, and falling ice can be a severe safety risk.

“This is both an important area of research as well as a highly significant recognition of the caliber of researchers at NDSU,” said President Dean Bresciani. “I am extremely pleased for our researchers to have this grant support, and for NDSU to be a collaborator on this important project.”

Given NDSU’s long-standing expertise, Webster and Andrew Croll, department of physics, will lead a team of national and international collaborators from the University of Michigan, Florida Institute of Technology and Newcastle University in the United Kingdom to explore fundamental properties of surfaces that can resist marine biological adhesives and ice accumulation. NDSU researchers intend to explore material design parameters that can be used to systematically create new coatings to reduce these attachments.

“NDSU is a world-class research institution, including in the fields of protective coatings and polymers. This grant we worked to secure builds on the university’s past success and will bolster its ability to perform and complete vital research to benefit our nation’s naval ships,” said Sen. John Hoeven.

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