Fouling Release Coatings are marine antifouling coatings based on silicone elastomers. Contrary to commonly used biocide-based antifouling coatings, they do not release biocides into the marine environment, however, they suffer from poor antifouling efficacy during idle periods. To improve their antifouling performances in static conditions, various amounts of hydrolyzable polymers were incorporated within a silicone matrix. These hydrolyzable polymers were chosen for the well-known hydrolytic degradation mechanism of their main chain, e.g. poly(ε-caprolactone) (PCL), or of their ester pending groups, e.g. poly(bis(trimethylsilyloxy)methylsilyl methacrylate) (PMATM2). The degradation kinetics of such hydrolyzable silicone coatings were assessed by mass loss measurements during immersion in deionized water. Coatings containing PMATM2 exhibited a maximum mass loss after 12 weeks, whereas PCL-based coatings showed no significant mass loss after 24 weeks. Dynamic contact angle measurements revealed the modifications of the coatings surface chemistry with an amphiphilic behavior after water exposure. The attachment of macrofoulers on these coatings were evaluated by field tests in the Mediterranean Sea, demonstrating the short or long-term antifouling effect of these hydrolyzable polymers embedded in the silicone matrix. The settlement of A. amphitrite barnacles on the different coatings indicated inhospitable behaviors towards larval barnacles for coatings with at least 15 wt % of additives.
Keywords: Fouling Release Coating; amphiphilic polymers; hydrolyzable polymers; silicone elastomer; surface chemistry.