The objective is to develop strategies to reduce marine fouling on optical underwater instrument.s to permit both measurements of a flux (for example, for fluorimeter, transmissometer and turbidostat applications) and to facilitate optical imaging (underwater cameras).
Such developments will permit greater integrity of data collection from various platforms (i.e. fixed structures, floating buoys, moored buoys, unmanned underwater vehicles, benthic landers) used in extended deployments for oceanographic monitoring of the current state of the marine environment, and for the observation of environmental changes. The developments will also permit longer periods of deployment between maintenance, thus reducing the cost of monitoring. The protection of camera viewing systems against biofouling has applications in the inspection of structures and subsea installations, as well as for oceanographic and marine environmental monitoring.
The proposed project involves 6 partners in 4 countries and the proposed research consists of 10 integrated Tasks over 30 months.
Since the requirements for flux measurement differ from those of imaging, two Tasks concern the development of Technology Requirement for optical oceanographic sensors involving flux measurements and separately a Technology Requirement for underwater viewing. These Tasks also include comprehensive sets of trials on instruments/cameras without and with the best evolving strategies for reducing biofouling which will emerge from other Tasks. One of the Tasks concerns a wide ranging research programme on optical coatings with the aim of resisting microfouling and biofilm formation. A parallel Task concerns an investigation of the potential for specialist glass materials. Given the complexity of the marine fouling problem it is unlikely that a single technique by itself will be completely successful. Consequently other Tasks involve studies of chemical, mechanical and electrical strategies to assist the reduction of biofilm formation and its removal. These methods will also be limit.ed in their application due to the frequent. need for minimum power consumption. A further Task considers the nature of biofilm formation on appropriate substrates over a wide range of environmental conditions The environmental risk, economics and industrial risk of the best candidate strategies will be considered within a separate Task and, in the final Task, guidelines will be developed for the protection of optical systems against marine fouling for a range of missions.
The proposal includes partners who would be capable of further development and exploitation of marketable technologies emerging from the research.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
1780 AB Den Helder
AB22 8GT Aberdeen
KA28 0EG Millport,isle Cumbrae