HANNOVER MESSE 2020, 20 - 24 April
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SCIENCE|SQUARE - Innovation and Highlights of Research and Technology

Ships Sliding in an Envelope of Air

Drag Reduction and Antifouling with a Novel Bionic Coating

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Research & Technology, Smart Materials & Coatings


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Approx. 90% of the worldwide international trade is covered by ships. However, ships cause severe damage to the environment: According to a study by the Univer­sity of Delaware, ship exhaust into the atmosphere is responsible for up to 60,000 deaths per year since 2013 already. In addition, large quantities of highly toxic substances that are meant to avoid biofouling of the ships’ surfaces are released into the water. Furthermore, huge amounts of energy are wasted due to ship hull friction against the water.

Three key problems which ships are facing are related to the fact that the ship hull is in contact with water:

  • Drag – the largest part of the fuel consumption is due to friction of the hull with the surrounding water.
  • Corrosion – a phenomenon which is also largely relat­ed to the fact that the ship is in direct contact with the surrounding sea water with its high content of salt.
  • Fouling – sea organisms would not grow if the ship was surrounded by air instead of water.


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