Fouling is the accumulation of unwanted substances, such as proteins, organisms, and inorganic molecules, on marine infrastructure such as pylons, boats, or pipes due to exposure to their environment. As fouling accumulates, it can have many adverse effects, including increasing drag, reducing the maximum speed of a ship and increasing fuel consumption, weakening supports on oil rigs and reducing the functionality of many sensors. In this review, the history and recent progress of techniques and strategies that are employed to inhibit fouling are highlighted, including traditional biocide antifouling systems, biomimicry, micro-texture and natural components systems, superhydrophobic, hydrophilic or amphiphilic systems, hybrid systems and active cleaning systems. This review highlights important considerations, such as accounting for the effects that antifouling strategies have on the sensing mechanism employed by the sensors. Additionally, due to the specialised requirements of many sensors, often a bespoke and tailored solution is preferential to general coatings or paints. A description of how both fouling and antifouling techniques affect maritime sensors, specifically acoustic sensors, is given.
- marine sensors
- materials selection