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A hull coating system based on vinyl ester resin reinforced with glass platelets

News International-French

7 Apr 2014

Hydrex introduces Ecospeed, an environmentally safe underwater ship hull coating system which provides the vessel with long-term protection and dramatically improves the ship's performance.

It consists of large glass-platelets suspended in a reinforced but resilient vinyl ester resin. Glass is a natural barrier to water and is often used for this purpose. In glass flake lining technology, this important property has been utilized by incorporating glass flakes into a matrix of tough carrier resins. These, when applied in the form of a liquid coating, cure to create tough, glass-like products which form a powerful bond with a host of diverse substrates. This proven industrial utilization has also been adapted for marine use. Icebreaker strength coatings are a typical example.

Ecospeed uses glass platelets specially designed to resist water ingress in the marine environment. After the curing process is complete and the vessel re-floated, it is conditioned to an exceptionally smooth finish. The hull roughness, unlike other coatings is brought down to a figure of less than 20 microns. Thus provides a more efficient hull and hence substantial fuel savings.

The barrier is formed by approximately 300 layers of glass platelets in Ecospeed lying parallel to the substrate within a resin matrix. Formulated in this way, the coating becomes almost totally impervious and prevents the ingress or permeation of corrosive elements, liquid or gaseous. The positive bond Ecospeed forms with the substrate of the protected structure contributes to its unsurpassed performance, longevity and its outstanding success. If mechanically damaged Ecospeed will not undercut and peel off like some coatings.

This coating is suitable for use on hulls, decks, ballast tanks, rudders and propellers. Corrosion caused by salt water can accelerate the erosion of even the most highly abrasion-resistant materials. Because of its stability, it offers outstanding protection against corrosion, abrasion and other physical damage in the underwater environment. Its protective capabilities are far superior to those of conventional paints or other coatings with smaller platelets and not so resilient resins.

It is a heavy-duty coating, which can be applied on properly prepared steel and GRP surfaces. These surfaces must not be primed prior to application. The coating has durability, even in the harsh conditions of seawater and is totally resistant to the destructive forces of barnacle growth.

It also offers a TBT-free, copper-free and biocide-free solution for the protection of the underwater hull. In 2008 stringent tests were carried out within the framework of an EU-LIFE demonstration project to provide scientific data and to authenticate the non-toxicity of the Ecospeed hull performance technology. This research proved that the coating is 100% toxin-free and that there is no negative effect on the water quality or the marine environment at any point of its application or use.

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