Development and Characterization of Mechanically Durable Silicone-Polythiourethane Composites Modified with Tetrapodal Shaped ZnO Particles for the Potential Application as Fouling-Release Coating in the Marine Sector
Ecological considerations strongly necessitate the development of environmentally friendly antifouling paints. A promising alternative to biocide containing antifouling paints are fouling-release coatings, which are non-toxic and designed to prevent permanent attachment of marine organisms to the surface, due to their low surface energy. However, these coatings suffer from insufficient mechanical properties, which make them unsuitable for mechanically stressed surfaces e.g., on ship hulls. To overcome those obstacles, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS)-polythiourethane (PTU) composites modified with tetrapodal shaped micro-nano ZnO particles (t-ZnO) were produced and characterized by evaluating the surface energy, mechanical properties, and fouling-release performance. Among all variations, PTU/1 wt.% PDMS composites with 1 wt.% t-ZnO particles possess superior properties for applications as fouling-release coatings for maritime purposes.