Journal of Coatings Technology and Research

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 657–669 | Cite as

Drag resistance of ship hulls: effects of surface roughness of newly applied fouling control coatings, coating water absorption, and welding seams

  • Xueting Wang
  • Stefan Møller Olsen
  • Eduardo Andres Martinez
  • Kenneth Nørager Olsen
  • Søren Kiil


Fouling control coatings (FCCs) and irregularities (e.g., welding seams) on ship hull surfaces have significant effects on the overall drag performance of ships. In this work, skin frictions of four newly applied FCCs were compared using a pilot-scale rotary setup. Particular attention was given to the effects of coating water absorption on skin friction. Furthermore, to investigate the effects of welding seam height and density (number of welding seams per five meters of ship side) on drag resistance, a new flexible rotor was designed and used for experimentation. It was found, under the conditions selected, that a so-called fouling release (FR) coating caused approximately 5.6% less skin friction (torque) over time than traditional biocide-based antifouling (AF) coatings at a tangential speed of 12 knots. Furthermore, results of immersion experiments and supporting “standard” water absorption experiments showed that water absorption of the FR coating did not result in any significant impacts on skin friction. On the other hand, water absorption was found to actually lower the skin friction of AF coatings. This may be attributed to a smoothening of the coating surface. The effects of welding seam height and density on drag resistance were found to be substantial when welding seam height is above 5 mm, especially at high tangential speeds (above 15 knots). Using an interpolation approach, the pilot-scale welding seam drag data could be used to estimate the drag resistance at approximated full-scale conditions, equivalent to about one welding seam per five meters of ship side. It was shown, in this case, that the contribution of welding seams to ship skin friction could very well be less significant than those of FCCs when the welding seam height is below 5 mm, a representative value for full-scale welding seam height.


Drag resistance Fouling control coatings Water absorption Welding seam height Welding seam density 



The authors would like to thank Antoni Sanchez, Ciaran Dunbar, and Benjamin Robert Petersen for their kind help with the experiments, and Marcus Tullberg and Kim Flugt Sørensen for interesting discussions. The project is conducted under the partnership of Blue INNOship. Financial support from the Hempel Foundation to CoaST (The Hempel Foundation Coatings Science and Technology Centre), and from Innovation Fund Denmark, the Danish Maritime Fund, A.P. Møller-Mærsk A/S, and Hempel A/S to the project is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© American Coatings Association 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CoaST, Department of Chemical and Biochemical EngineeringTechnical University of Denmark (DTU)Kgs. LyngbyDenmark
  2. 2.Department of Fouling Release SystemsHempel A/SKgs. LyngbyDenmark
  3. 3.Department of Fouling ControlPinturas Hempel S.A.U.PolinyàSpain
  4. 4.Maersk LineCopenhagen KDenmark

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