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Assessing the use of Low Voltage UV-light Emitting Miniature LEDs for Marine Biofouling Control

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Technical Report

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Defence Science and Technology Group Fishermans Bend Victoria Australia

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The accumulation of biofouling on marine vessels and structures is an ongoing issue for managers and operators. For vessels, one particular design feature that has long posed a problem for biofouling control is seachests. Traditional marine antifouling solutions are typically in the form of underwater coatings. Studies have shown that antifouling paints in seachests are unable to perform as well as they do on uniform areas of the hull. A fundamentally different way of preventing biofouling is by using UV light emission. We present a new approach for biofouling prevention, in which a UV light emitting layer is applied on exposed underwater surfaces for the inhibition of settling organisms. The introduction of miniature UV LEDs as a light source enables them to be embedded into thin, flexible, coating-like structures, in which the UV light dissipates evenly within the surface. Optical design elements ensure the light escapes more or less uniformly all over the coating layer. In this report, we present a description of the technology and experimental setup, as well as the results of pilot investigations of the efficacy of UV LEDs for the prevention of marine biofouling in a simulated vessel seachest environment and compare this to theoretical simulations of the light intensity over the surface area.

Subject Categories:

  • Electrooptical and Optoelectronic Devices

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