An experimental Investigation into the surface and hydrodynamic characteristics of marine coatings with mimicked hull roughness ranges
Journal article, 2018

There are limited scientific data on contributors to the added drag of in-service ships, represented by modern-day coating roughness and biofouling, either separately or combined. This study aimed to gain an insight into roughness and hydrodynamic performance of typical coatings under in-service conditions of roughened ships’ hull surfaces. Comprehensive and systematic experimental data on the boundary layer and drag characteristics of antifouling coating systems with different finishes are presented. The coating types investigated were linear-polishing polymers, foul-release and controlled-depletion polymers. The data were collected through state-of the-art equipment, including a 2-D laser Doppler velocimetry (LDV) system for hydrodynamic data in a large circulating water tunnel. Three coating systems were first applied on flat test panels with ‘normal’ finishes in the first test campaign to represent coating applications under idealised laboratory conditions. In order to address more realistic roughness conditions, as typically
observed on ships’ hulls, ‘low’ and ‘high’ roughness densities were introduced into the same types of coating, in the second test campaign. The data collected from the first test campaign served as the baseline to demonstrate the effect on the surface roughness and hydrodynamic drag characteristics of these coating types as a result of ‘in-service’ or ‘severely flawed’ coating application scenarios. Data collected on coatings with a range of in-service surface conditions provided a basis to establish correlation between the surface roughness characteristics and hydrodynamic performance (roughness function). The findings of the study indicate that the estimations of drag penalties based on well-applied, relatively smooth coating conditions underestimate the importance of hull roughness, which although undesirable, is commonplace in the world’s commercial fleet.

Zero-pressure turbulent boundary layers

marine coatings

hull roughness

skin friction drag


‘in-service’ condition

mimicked hull roughness


Irma Yeginbayeva

Chalmers, Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2), Maritime Studies

Mehmet Atlar

University of Strathclyde


0892-7014 (ISSN) 1029-2454 (eISSN)

Vol. 34 9 1001-1019

Subject Categories

Other Engineering and Technologies

Environmental Engineering





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