The use of acoustic waves in the ultrasound range (frequencies higher than 20 kHz) is a non-toxic and environmentally friendly solution for preventing biofouling on vessels’ hulls and niche areas. This revolutionary idea, conceived in the 1960s, is now taken forward with HASYTEC's groundbreaking advancements in the maritime sector. Within the CHEK project, we are transforming our Dynamic Biofilm Deposition intelligent (DBPi) system, originally designed to protect ship niche areas, like propellers and sea chests, to provide comprehensive hull protection.
The HASYTEC system automatically detects and sets the optimal frequencies for each ultrasound transducer, thanks to its intelligent sensors for temperature, current, and voltage. Once the resonant frequency is identified, a pulsed ultrasound signal is emitted, causing vibrations along the hull. The intensity of these vibrations depends on factors such as material type, thickness, and the input power used. After the initial excitation, compressional and shear waves in the solid are typically observed. The oscillators of a compressional wave vibrate in the direction of propagation whereas those of shear waves vibrate perpendicularly to it. As the vibrations generate compressional and shear waves, a series of mechanisms work together to prevent biofouling. Disruptions at the solid structure-water interface impede the initial cell adhesion process, while the pressure oscillations created by the ultrasound, known as acoustic streaming, further disturb the fouling process.
With the implementation of the HASYTEC ultrasound antifouling technology in the global fleet, there will no longer be a need for antifouling paints, typically containing heavy metals. By eliminating the toxic streams, our system promotes environmental sustainability and also reduces operational expenses and maintenance on board.
For more information about ultrasound antifouling technology, please see this video.