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Forum Index: DISCUSSION: Dock Talk:
Hull coatings
Team McLube

 



Stu Johnstone
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Oct 13, 2009, 3:25 PM

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I read with some degree of amusement the article in Scuttlebutt #2948 - WILL THE RIBLETS RETURN? In particular, because the ISAF RRS-53 has allegedly been dismissed for America's Cup #33? Riblets from 3M were one thing. "Hydrophilic coatings" are quite another-- e.g. the mythical "artificial dolphin skin". There's a lot more to the story on coatings and intrigue in the America's Cup than just the "riblets".

In 2002, I was working with friends at a major Midwestern university on the use of nano-particle technologies in batteries, capacitors, fuel cells and combinations thereof. One of the most remarkable "chance" meetings took place when after contacting George David via "Tomac" (Tom McLaughlin at North Sails), I was put in touch with United Technologies then Chief of R&D-- UTC was researching how to make better "inorganic" fuel cell membranes.

What came out of the discussion with our team and the UTC R&D guys was the fact that our nanoparticle coatings (consisting of 8-10 nanometer size particles made in my basement lab) were extremely "hydrophilic"-- e.g. the opposite of hydrophobic (like beads of water on wax). We then tested a hypothesis that our coatings might make water flow faster and perhaps also produce a thin coating on a boat that would act like the mythical "dolphin-skin"- the ultimate sailboat coating. Here's what happened and why it got mixed up in the America's Cup 2003 challenge in Auckland, New Zealand.

We tested our hypotheses by first doing the "contact angle" test - drop 1 cc of water on a surface with many different preparations and, using a microscope mounted horizontally (a specific piece of kit I might add), measure the angle that the wall from the bead of water forms against the surface). The finishes that were tested included; (a) sandpaper finishes from #36 to #400 to #800; (b) wax; (c) silicon spray; (d) teflon spray; (e) gelcoat; (f) various soaps, (g) various thicknesses of our SLIP nanoparticle SiO2 coatings, and so forth. In short, our hypotheses at a "simple level" tested out correctly--- other than soap which left virtually no contact angle, our nanoparticle coatings were so hydrophilic that most contact angles were well below 10 degrees. By way of example, #400 to #800 wet-or-dry gelcoat was next closest "standard" finish at over 30 degree contact angle.

Next, we decided to bite the bullet and do a real, honest-to-goodness test of our coatings with whom many consider to be one of the world's foremost experts in hydro-dynamics and computational fluid dynamics, particularly with respect to test tank data and coatings for racing sailboats and ships-- Prof. Ian Campbell at the University of Southampton/ Wolffson Unit in Southampton, England. We flew over and spent four days in Cowes, Isle of Wight, commuting across the Medina River early every morning to tow Ian's famous "plank" and also a Laser2 daggerboard through the tank. We tested both (i) resistance using Ian's famous "super-custom" Hewlett Packard digital gauges and (ii) visual flow using an underwater video camera and flowing ink.

In short, the results we produced were somewhat astonishing. For one, Prof. Campbell flat-out stated that in 40+ years of testing every conceivable crazy idea regards bottom coatings that NOTHING (other than the obvious soap) had ever tested as fast as our "SLIP Technologies" nanoparticle coatings (SLIP = Super-Laminar Industrial Products). What we discovered after testing both the "plank" and the Laser2 daggerboard was that once laminar flow was established (1 knot to about 12 knots), the SLIP coating was up to 8.0% faster than #600-#800 wet-or-dry sanded gelcoat/polyurethanes-- e.g. several boatlengths on a 2 mile beat. And, more remarkably, the laminar flow separation on the Laser2 board was dramatically improved- moving the point of separation up to 30% further back on the chord length. What does that mean? Well, the boat moves faster through the water for one and, secondly, the foils provide significantly greater lift than with conventional finishes since the hydrophilic coating was behaving like an artificial "dolphin-skin"- holding a super thin-film of water molecules against other water molecules to promote laminar flow.

With those two well-documented discoveries, we then decided it was time to figure out how well it worked in the real world. And, here's where the intrigue goes off the charts. I will simply explain three scenarios and the rest of the world can debate what ultimately happened:

1. 2003 America's Cup- Auckland, New Zealand- In the fall of 2002, I first contacted Ken Read, Billy Trenkle and their Reichel-Pugh Design office regards the STARS & STRIPES efforts since they were friends (I'd sailed with them all, plus my buddy Kenny Read from Newport was skippering). Initially disbelieving our findings, the S&S guys did get an "opinion" from the Chief AC Measurer (a Kiwi) that specifically allowed any kind of "commercial coating" (SLIP's coatings were offered online in my Yahoo Store). With one last key race to go, the call came in from Stars&Stripes to "ship it now"...but the guys seemed to forget I had to make it in batches (which took 3 days) and ship it cool (so the nanoparticles wouldn't coagulate and recombine into clumps before getting sprayed on the hulls and appendages). Failing to help out STARS & STRIPES, I then called Bruce Farr's office regards Larry Ellison's BMW/ORACLE campaign (I'd worked with them - mostly Staggie (Geoff Stagg), Russell and Renee- on various projects, including one with the late Sir Peter Blake on a VOR60 project). As I'd done for Kenny and DC, I offered to help; exchanged notes (plus our research). But, the response I got from BOR was "while we believe Prof. Campbell's data (and have worked with him extensively), our test tank and 20 foot scale model that we have in Auckland exclusively is too full and we don't have the time to do this right now". Oh well, both lost....BADLY. It certainly wasn't from our lack of trying to help fellow Americans, that's for sure.

2. Etchells 22 Worlds- in early summer 2003, I got a call from Kenny Read/ Karl Anderson one day asking if I still had that "stuff" that's "slippery when wet". All kidding aside, I said "yes" and shipped him about a gallon to test on Long Island Sound prior to the Etchells Worlds. The test was done with Kenny's two identical Etchells, one coated, one simply sanded. On board for the test was Ched Proctor from North Sails CT and Karl Anderson of the famous Karl's Boatshop on Cape Cod. After the test, I spoke to Karl and his statements were simply astonishing-- to paraphrase his comments, Karl said "...it didn't matter WHERE we put the coated boat, it simply sailed away. Upwind, downwind, reaching, windward, leeward, ahead, behind...it was unbelievable." Well, proof is in the pudding and the jury is still out on this one-- Kenny won that Etchells Worlds with STRAIGHT FIRSTS--- it's never been done before or after. And, his formula was simple- start to weather of the mid-line boat and sail away-- Stew Neff can corroborate the difference in Kenny's straight-line speed and performance (as can many others) who'd raced against Kenny and crew that year.

3. British Sailing Team- 2004 Olympic Games- Athens, Greece- of all people who were "in the know" of our SLIP nanoparticle coating, it was our British friends on the Medina River in Cowes, IOW, England. The British were leaving no stone unturned to dominate the Athens Sailing Games-- they certainly pulled it off. After an email from one of the RYA Sailing Team leaders, I shipped over 8 liters of our SLIP coating to their team hotel in Athends, enough to cover every boat/ tuneup boat the British had from boards, to 470s, to Ynglings and so forth- twice. The rest is history.

Best,
Stu Johnstone


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Oct 13, 2009, 3:26 PM

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So what has come of the coating since 2004? Is it still commercially available?


Stu Johnstone
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Oct 13, 2009, 3:27 PM

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So what has come of the coating since 2004? Is it still commercially available?



We shelved it....it still exists. There were several issues:

1. Expense- we'd figured out how to do it cheaper, but was still around $500 per liter-- cheap at least in terms of "bang for the buck"- buy a bottom coating versus carbon rigging, carbon sails, carbon mast gets very incremental gains versus a "no brainer" instant 8% speed increase using the SLIP nanoparticle coating.

2. AMERICA's CUP class and/or ISAF rules- no rules, no one-design class rules anywhere specifically outlawed or banned such a coating at the time...but then again it was clear to me that it could get "outlawed". And, most amusingly, it was Farr/BOR that specifically made a request to change that part of the AC Rules for the 2007 AC #32 in Valencia!! How bloody ironic-- from our point of view, it was clear acknowledgement that what we had might work and could be bought.

3. Durability- we still had not figured out how to make the coating last longer than 4-5 days on the bottom of the boats. The application was simple- usually three coats air-sprayed at 25 PSI inside a "tented boat" at 85-90 degrees and less than 10% humidity. But, while the particles bonded in the "hills and valleys" of a #600 wet-sanded bottom quite nicely (gelcoat or polyurethane didn't matter) they didn't stick for long. You could see how the SiO2 nanoparticles settled onto the hull coating using an SEM scope (Scanning Electron-Micrograph scope- your basic piece of multi-million lab equipment)...very cool stuff.

Basically, it worked great! Yes, we debated for a long time what to do with it and simply shelved it....

Best,
Stu


tjperrotti
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Oct 14, 2009, 6:51 AM

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In research / tank testing that I've seen, I concur that there's the potential for significant boundary layer / drag reduction benefit with nanotechnology-coatings.

The guys at Seashell Technologies in San Diego have been fiddling with this for some time, with some success.

Check out: www.seashelltech.com


T.J. Perrotti


Jesse Falsone
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Oct 14, 2009, 7:12 AM

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The US Navy has been interested in potential drag reduction technologies for years for efficiency (hull coatings), and for burst speeds (pumping air bubbles into the boundarly layer). Of course, the inherrent roughness of steel construction makes these technologies less attractive, as does the magnitude and difficulty in applying it to a ship.

I think it should be noted here that the 8% figure given by Stu was for one particular boat in one condition presumably. I would assume that results for any coating would vary depending on the vessel, it's configuration, point of sail, and environment. An 8% increase in performance infers that the actual reduction in frictional resistance is much larger - perhaps more than double that number - since the boat is also affected by wave-making drag.

This is a very interesting topic with broad applications to the marine industry. Drag reduction had been identified by senior navy officials as a major technical challenge.


stuj24
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Oct 14, 2009, 8:15 AM

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Jesse- the research was done on Prof. Ian Campbell's famous "plank" in the test tank in Cowes, IOW, England. The tank there is used often by Univ. Southampton/ Wolffson Unit. The "plank" that produced the raw, physical data on drag reduction has been used by Prof Campbell for over 40 years. The plank's physical dimensions are designed to "rule out" any anomalies related to "form drag"- the "plank" has identical NACA parabolic shapes at each end- it's 3' feet deep, 3" wide for the entire length, 20' feet long- e.g. a very long, very skinny, very flat (other than the leading/trailing edges that are identical). It was designed that way to be the best conceivable test for any coatings that could be applied to its surface. The plank itself is simply polyurethane coated, then wet-sanded to #600. When Prof Campbell "tests" the tank, he always does several test runs to determine the actual "tank condition" for that given day--- as any naval architect knows, test tanks themselves can be finicky beasts, so multiple runs are done with the "benchmark" plank/#600 finish to get the "baseline" prior to and after applying any coatings. So, it was that process that created the "curves" that Prof Campbell was so surprised by when we plotted the data on his PC/graphs...an 8% reduction in drag is significant. - Stu


Jesse Falsone
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Oct 14, 2009, 9:41 AM

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Stu - thanks for the additional information. I should've read your post more carefully. 8% reduction in frictional drag is very significant. As you know, frictional drag on ships is much higher as a percentage of total drag, so this is of particular interest. I could see how a durable hydrophilic coating could be a significant advantage on most sailboats too where speed differentials are often measured in tenths of a percent.

Can you confirm that the Brits used the coating in Athens? It sounds like you shipped it, but weren't decisive if they used it. Did they request the coating for the China games? Do you think the coating is more prone to being washed away at the free surface or anywhere there is spray, slamming, etc? Are results from these Southampton tests publicly available?


stuj24
**

Oct 14, 2009, 9:52 AM

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Can't confirm if British used it--- sent them an email and asked them which boats-- the reply was "confidential". So, pretty easy to conclude they used it otherwise they would've said no- human nature and logic tells you so. No, they did not use it for China.

It didn't seem to matter if the coating was more prone to wash away at the free surface, hulls are constantly exposed to the air/water interface when heeled, so anything conclusions here would be indeterminate.

The results from my Univ. Southampton/ Wolffson Unit tests publicly available? Sure. I would have to dive into my files to find the Powerpoint presentation I put together and sent off to both STARS & STRIPES/ REICHEL-PUGH and BMW/ORACLE RACING/ BRUCE FARR ASSOCIATES. We also have the video from the underwater camera showing the flowing ink over the Laser2 daggerboard.
- Stu


Jesse Falsone
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Oct 14, 2009, 10:00 AM

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Thanks Stu. It sounds like the company that TJ mentioned has been getting some government funds to help in developing their technology, although a quick look at the website indicates that they are more interested in hydropholic coatings for corrosion prevention. I wonder if the adhesion technology they use would be applicable to your coating.

Was the Laser 2 daggerboard tested at varying AoA?


stuj24
**

Oct 14, 2009, 10:46 AM

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No, we ran out of time/resources to keep testing--- wasn't cheap either!! We did the runs of the Laser2 daggerboard at 0 deg. angle of attack. Interestingly, the empirical data from descriptions of those whom actually sailed the "coated Etchells" tells you that the test tank data was only giving us part of the picture-- it was pretty clear the coating was enhancing "lift" quite dramatically (e.g. reducing leeway at far greater rates than what we could observe in the tank with flowing ink).


David Munge
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Oct 14, 2009, 12:07 PM

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Considering many sailing races are won by less than 1%, Stu Johnson's description of an 8% gain seems unbelievable.

I was middle man in Philip Crebbin's Soling in the European Championship in Sweden in the late 80s. Phil had just come back from sailing 12 metres in the AC in Perth.

He had access to some magic "stuff". A man came down from Stockholm, dressed up in white overalls. The boat was parked in the far corner of the boat park, and the "stuff was sprayed on, in layers. Probably seven layers since it was a seven race event, and the boat could not be removed from the water once in.

The bottom looked a bit like a white orange peel. The rest of the fleet were intrigued.

Race 1, good start, half way up the beat, half way up the fleet. Race 2, good start, half way up the beat, half way up the fleet. Race 3, good start, half way up the beat, half way up the fleet.

After all the bars were empty, after the third race was over, we were still up to our waists in water, scrubbing the stuff off, much to the glee of the audience.

I gather they found a use for the "stuff" spraying it onto buildings to stop graffiti sticking.


Ron Rosenberg
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Oct 15, 2009, 12:11 AM

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Winter must be near, as it seems to me that the beginning of winter and the beginning of spring are the two times of the year that the “hull coatings” topic heats up a bit. Like the rest of you, I’ve always been intrigued by the benefits of different hull finishes, surface polishes, specialty coatings and the latest technology has to offer. It is an understatement to say that this is a very complex issue. Full disclosure: I work for McGee Industries, Inc., the folks that brought you the Team McLube line of products (you might have noticed the sponsor/support banner?). We have also been working on our own cutting edge technology in this area for some time now, and while we continue our efforts in the lab for our own next generation magical coating, we decided it was about time that somebody came up with a very fast speed polish, that is super easy to apply, is durable enough to protect a hull for an entire season, is safe to apply and is environmentally friendly. This was precisely the reality-based thinking that drove our new citrus-based Hullkote Speed Polish project (http://www.mclubemarine.com/hullkote/).

So many of these new technologies are fun to discuss, but simply are not user-friendly enough even for racing sail boats. At this point, these products are either too expensive, don’t last long enough on the hull surface, too complicated/time consuming and too dangerous to properly apply (it is widely documented that most true nano products cannot be applied by spray as the airborne particles can be absorbed directly into the lung tissue), or too hazardous for the environment.

A few years ago we began extensive tank, flow, contact angle and field testing on a breakthrough citrus-based product we were working on which was the predecessor to what is now Team McLube Hullkote (our citrus base replaced more common petroleum distillates found in most other polishes). The one-design keelboat and skiff sailors loved the product, and the interesting thing was that nothing else we tested in the tank and flow testing was any faster than Hullkote… even the foreign nano based products didn’t test any faster. We launched the Hullkote Speed Polish product last year and since then we’ve received tremendous customer feedback. Don’t take my word for it, see for yourself (http://www.mclubemarine.com/quotes.php).

This feedback came from a wide variety of sailors and particularly from some very tough customers who did plenty of hard product testing of their own; Kenny Read and his PUMA Ocean RacingVOR 70 Team, most of the top International Foiling Moth sailors at the top of the worlds results, TP 52s, Farr 40s, Melges 32s-24s-20s. Notably, 3 of the 4 past Etchells World Champs are big Hullkote fans (Andy Beadsworth, Jud Smith, Bill Hardesty), Andrew Campbell and Mark Mendelblatt in the Star class prefer Hullkote as do many members of the USSTAG. Poul Ricard Hoj Jensen continues to dominate the competitive Dragon class with Hullkote while Jonathan McKee, Howie Hamlin, Terry Hutchinson, Harry Melges and Chris Larson use it to win worlds in TP52s, J/24s, Melges 32s and 24s, 49ers, 505s… and of course too many other sailors and classes to name here.

Probably the key distinction that I hear most from our customers about the Hullkote product is that it simply keeps the boat cleaner, especially after 5-7 days in the water during a major championship (http://www.mclubemarine.com/hullkote/index.php?c=hullkote_fieldtesting). When the boats are hauled after the final race the results speak for themselves, and the hulls are in the clear view of everyone. As the boats are craned out of the water it’s obvious that there are those who have to work hard to scrub the nubs, marine slime, and oily deposits off the hull before they pack up… and then there are those who simply rinse with a hose and the hull surface looks perfect and they’re done (and based on my experience, those often correlate to the top of the standings).

So while some of the greatest minds in our sport will continue to debate hydrophobic vs hydrophilic through yet another winter, I submit that we all might agree that a clean hull surface is a fast hull surface. Did I mention that Hullkote leaves your hull with a showroom quality shine, AND it’s environmentally friendly? Give Hullkote a try and THEN let me know what you think about fast hull coatings.


tizak
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Oct 15, 2009, 10:28 AM

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Since this constitutes somewhat of a plug I'll be brief in my comments.

I am the North American importer and distributor for Holmenkol Aquatic products out of Stuttgart. The company has been formulating and marketing high speed surface coatings for outdoor recreational use for over 80 years. It all began with solutions for winter sports - primarily ski waxes and related preparations. A few years back a decision was made to branch out into other sports areas with sailboat racing becoming a key target.

It should also be noted that many German companies have been pursuing the commercialization of nano based products for quite some time now.

In the Holmenkol line (if interested you can get a better picture of our entire line at http://www.envere.com/emindex.html#emhome) our AQUA SPEED is a nano coating for hulls and appendages that has been used for several years now in various major events around the globe. It has been shown to provide up to 45% drag reduction in tests conducted at the Munich Technical Institute.

Some of our users include:

- Various U.S. based Melges 24 and Etchells competitors
- 49er bronze Olympians Chris Draper and Simon Hiscocks
- Multiple 505 World Champions Wolfgang Hunger and Holger Jess
- Laser and Star Olympic medal winner Robert Scheidt
- Multihull Olympian Darren Bundock

And others as well.

For reference it took two of us about 3 hours to thoroughly strip, polish and AQUA SPEED coat a Melges 24 (bottom, keel, rudder and topsides). A good chunk of this time involved waiting for various materials to dry before polishing off. This was done by hand but powered buffing could have been employed at the polishing stage.

The bottom line, I believe (naturally), is that nano coatings work. Like anything else it's key to apply the material properly. Ours (and I believe all nano based products) are not meant to be used on soft surfaces. This means that hard paints (as opposed to sloughing bottom paints) and epoxy or gelcoat bottoms are best. It's also key with our product to coat topsides as well as they contribute to boat speed when heeled.

One point of caution for dinghy sailors - the coating of center / dagger boards may be detrimental to righting a capsized boat as standing on the board is nearly impossible. This stuff is very slippery.

I'd be happy to answer any questions or provide more details to anyone who wants to email me at tom@envere.com.
ENVERE - Unique, Earth-Friendly Products For The Outdoors:

Holmenkol - Marine Protectants & Drag Reducers

vapur - BPA-Free, Foldable, Stowable, Reusable Beverage Bottles

ChicoBag - Bags, Packs, Totes, Etc. Made From Up To 99% Recycled Content


The Publisher
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Oct 19, 2009, 6:27 AM

Post #14 of 15 (25743 views)
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In Reply To
In research / tank testing that I've seen, I concur that there's the potential for significant boundary layer / drag reduction benefit with nanotechnology-coatings.

The guys at Seashell Technologies in San Diego have been fiddling with this for some time, with some success.

Check out: www.seashelltech.com


T.J. Perrotti



Here is some info after I contacted Seashell Technologies:

Seashell (http://www.seashelltech.com) is a San Diego based company specializing in nanomaterial development and the application of nanotechnology for product development. Seashell Technology under support from several federal agencies that include the Air Force, Navy, Army and National Science Foundation has developed a number of different types of coatings with novel characteristics. These coatings were developed or are in further development for applications that include anti-corrosive, anti-fog, icephobic, and drag reduction. Seashell can prepare painted surfaces where the water contact angle is less than 5 degrees or greater than 150 degrees, and welcomes interested parties to contact Seashell Technology (info@seashelltech.com) for further discussions.

Thank and Kind Regards,

David

David Schultz
Seashell Technology, LLC
858-638-0315
http://www.seashelltech.com


Weekend Warrior
***


Mar 12, 2010, 10:35 AM

Post #15 of 15 (23873 views)
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So as I understand it there are basically 3 good options for gelcoat or epoxy hulls;

1. McLube Hullkote. This is I believe lemon oil based and lasts a few days.

2. Holmenkol AquaSpeed. Nanotubes in a bottle and lasts a few days.

3. Hullspeed, a silicone based epoxy from Greenfield Manufacturing. It was used on Telefonica Blue, has to be applied like spray paint but does last a whole season.


Which is best? Has anyone done a shoot-out to determine which is most effective? Something like a towing tank model treated with both and run in controlled conditions would be good.

Which product is best??!!
G. E. Kriese
www.OceanRacing.com





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