A study to compare the fouling resistance and self-cleaning properties of two patterned surfaces with an unpatterned control surface.

This project aims to compare the efficacy of a biomimetic topography with a regular, topography (i.e. with uniform geometry) at biofouling control using both Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and experimental method where the experimental methods employed involve 3D printing and soft lithography.

This research compares the efficacy of a regularly patterned surface topography with a biomimetic surface topography against biofouling. As studies suggested, surface topographies show antifouling properties. This study explores simple geometric shapes and the skin of the bonnethead shark (Sphyrna tiburo) species. A CAD model of the surface topographies is produced for simulations to determine which topography shows better antifouling potential. The antifouling potential is determined by the amount of hydrodynamic instability induced by the surface topography to resist antifouling settlement. This study also aims to determine the efficacy of a patterned or nonpatterned against biofouling. In the first part of the project, simulations of an unpatterned and patterned surface in CFD are compared with to determine the surfaces’ respective fouling resistance. The final objective is to explore fabrication methods for these antifouling surface topographies using 3D printing and soft lithography techniques. The fabrication process starts with producing a CAD model of the surface topography to be printed out using 3D printing. This 3D printed mould is used to make replicates to the topography with Polydimehtylsiloxane (PDMS), a silicone resin. The replicated topographies are characterised with laser Confocal Scanning Microscopy (LCSM) test to determine surface roughness and viability for antifouling applications. The expected outcomes to this project are to firstly determine if the biomimetic surface topography works better than regular, geometrically shaped topographies for biofouling control. It is also expected that the efficacy of patterned and unpatterned surfaces for biofouling control can be determined at the end of this research as well. The last expected outcome is to determine if 3D printing and soft lithography methods can produce these surface topographies at an expected level.

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