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Ship hull turns to gel, slashes drag from pesky ocean

When it comes to huge commercial ships, the laws of physics not only keep their vast bulks afloat, but also provide a bit of a problem in that they allow the ocean to drag on a ship’s hull and slow it down.

Nippon Paint Marine Coatings thinks it has a partial solution in the form of a new hull paint that reduces drag and has the bonus of improving fuel efficiency by four percent.

The company says it, “got the inspiration for the paint from dolphins and tuna, which swim with low drag thanks to the mucous layer coating their bodies.”

Accordingly, its new polymer-based paint actually turns to gel when immersed, replicating that action. It also makes hulls smoother by moving to fill in any irregularities as small as 100 microns in the surface.

Nippon Paint says that, although the new paint is three times as costly as alternatives, it will pay its way through fuel savings on an example 95,000-ton ship within a year.

(Via Nikkei; image via Flickr)

12:15 AM JMLH • Permalink
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