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Synthetic Sebum Makes Slippery Sailboats

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the so-say-we-all dept.

Transportation 128

sonnejw0 writes "Sea-faring vessels are a major contributor of greenhouse gas production due to a deficit in international laws and inherent inefficiencies at sea, such as barnacle build-up on hulls. Many marine animals avoid the build-up of drag-inducing barnacles through secreting oily residues from their pores or through the nano-molecular arrangement of their skin. Sailors regularly defoul their hulls, removing the barnacles at dry-dock, which requires them to reduce the amount of time they have at sea. Some synthetic chemicals in paints have been used to prevent barnacle build-up but have been found to be toxic to marine animals and thus outlawed by several nations. Now, engineers are trying to replicate the skin of marine animals to produce a slippery hull to which marine bacteria cannot attach, saving fuel costs and improving speeds."

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128 comments

Oh dear lord (4, Funny)

RenHoek (101570) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580015)

The image of a smegma producing sail yacht is now stuck in my head!

Where's the brain bleach when you need it!

Re:Oh dear lord (3, Funny)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580141)

Sebum - white shit that causes zits.

I was thinking of ships with zits. Of course, as the ship gets older, it will probably grow out of it. It will be bad for the ships that ship chocolate and potato chips!

Damn, beat me to it (2, Funny)

TrogL (709814) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580363)

...and no, you don't grow out of it.

Any further discussion would be TMI.

Re:Damn, beat me to it (3, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580501)

Sunlight is said to help ... so hop to it, the basement stairs are right there at the end of the room.

Re:Damn, beat me to it (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 4 years ago | (#29581259)

Tell me about it. Receding hair line, grey in my beard and I still get zits? WTF? And they call this 'intelligent design'?

Re:Damn, beat me to it (1)

tabrnaker (741668) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585313)

Unfortunately, the intelligent design requires an intelligent operator to work as designed.

Re:Oh dear lord (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29582103)

I was thinking of ships with zits. Of course, as the ship gets older, it will probably grow out of it.

Unfortunately that's not always the case. 0x21 and still have it about as bad as in my 0x0Es...

Re:Oh dear lord (3, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580229)

Dude, what what would you do if I told you (truthfully!) that sebum is all over your body? It's all over your hair, your skin, etc.

Yeah. That's because sebum is a term that refers to the natural oils that coat your hair and skin. It's what makes your hair and skin waterproof and what protects them from drying out.

Re:Oh dear lord (4, Informative)

sonnejw0 (1114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580999)

Yeah, sebum is the natural oily product of the sebaceous glands that surround hair follicles. Zits are formed when sebaceous glands are blocked, resulting in a build-up for sebum WITHIN the hair follicle and/or gland. This build-up can occur due to a bacterial infection, skin sloughing, or excess sebum itself, excess sebum being produced by the sudden increase of systemic testosterone in pubescent years, as a result of repeated and frequent sexual stimulation post-pubescent, or exogenous oils and saturated fats from processed foods and meats can be secreted and are highly likely to obstruct these very pores.

The sebaceous glands can recalibrate themselves eventually to this increased testosterone concentration, or the testosterone concentration can descrease with age or activity, or the elasticity of the skin can result in increase pore size, allowing greater flow. Massaging of the skin under hot water with soap could be a preventive measure in done regularly and at a young enough age. I would avoid harsh peroxides as they do not attack the underlying cause, even if caused by a bacterial infection it will probably not be entirely effective. The pores need to be cleansed, and peroxides are very effective at damaging DNA resulting in skin cancer later in life.

I am not an M.D., but a Ph.D. student, and I had horrible sebaceous cysts when I was a teenager. So I can commiserate with the issue. Too bad I didn't realize back then that daily fast food was the cause of my problems and not the 'yummy' solution to my psychological needs I thought it was. Now, fast-food makes me sick that I know what is in it and how my teenage years of indiscretion will probably result in a heart-attack in mid-life, not discounting 5 years of misery, physically and psychologically. I bicycle 6 miles a day, now, and cook all of my own foods at home and I love life and social occasions. It's a lot harder to make those kinds of choices as a teenager, though. Peer pressure and the mental cloud of hormones makes it difficult to think for yourself, even when you think you are.

Re:Oh dear lord (1)

sonnejw0 (1114901) | more than 4 years ago | (#29581189)

Oh, and definitely don't pop them on your own! That will just clog/infect surrounding pores and permanently damage the pore that's clogged, resulting in more cysts overall. A dermatologist can remove the cystic fluids easily and carefully in ways you cannot on your own. I did not heed that advice when I was a teenager, I wish I had.
Really, just get a good dermatologist, it can become a serious problem very quickly.

Re:Oh dear lord (1)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584855)

"as a result of repeated and frequent sexual stimulation post-pubescent,"

'Scuse me?

too many potential jokes for first post. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29580049)

I would have been the "first post", but, well there were too many potential jokes.
I really like "Sailors regularly defoul their hulls", but then there's the "Sebum"/"Semen" play on words which is always popular.
"dry-dock" change some letters...
oh my goodness I just can't decide, so I've lost my first post chance.
So I guess I'll just RTFA and ponder how OpenBSD would help with this problem without even making a "soviet russia" or "natalie portman" reference

Re:too many potential jokes for first post. (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 4 years ago | (#29582143)

I really like "Sailors regularly defoul their hulls", but then there's the "Sebum"/"Semen" play on words which is always popular.

It's a slippery slope.

It's a start (3, Interesting)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580055)

A surface that inhibits barnacles is only a start, for there are other things one can do to make a ship more eco-friendly

One if obviously a more fuel efficient engine

The other is to improve the design of the propeller to make it more efficient while lessen the drag

Then there is the need for a much lighter material for the construction of the ships

Last but not least, new designs of ships are also needed.

Re:It's a start (3, Interesting)

0100010001010011 (652467) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580193)

Go Nuke. They did it once http://www.atomicengines.com/ships.html [atomicengines.com] , but made it more of a 'show' boat than a work horse.

* The Savannah was designed as a showboat. Her purpose was to demonstrate American technology as part of the "Atoms for Peace" program. Pretty lines and luxurious staterooms were more important than cargo capacity or loading ease.
* She made politically motivated port calls, not economically motivated ones.
* She was a one of a kind ship, required to support a specialized infrastructure by herself.
* There were some difficulties with union negotiations. She spent almost a year tied to the pier because of the deck officers did not want the engineers to make more money than they did.

With the air craft carriers no one seems to have a NIMBY problem. You could move quite a bit of cargo with a few lbs of uranium.

So it'll require hiring some more staff (Like an actual engineer and maybe some armed guards). The US Navy has managed to not have any nuclear powered vessel captured by pirates.

Heck I wouldn't have a huge problem if the US Government wanted to own and operate a super-super cargo ship if it ran on Nuclear energy. The amount of oil those ships burn is measured in thousands of gallons per mile.

Re:It's a start (3, Informative)

smooth wombat (796938) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580507)

Heck I wouldn't have a huge problem if the US Government wanted to own and operate a super-super cargo ship if it ran on Nuclear energy. The amount of oil those ships burn is measured in thousands of gallons per mile.

I know you're trying to make a point about using nuclear energy to power ships rather than burning fuel, but let's not go overboard on the amount of fuel being burned per mile. According to WikiAnswers, if a cargo ship travels at 30 mph (roughly 26 knots), it burns 120 gallons per mile [answers.com] .

Granted, as the second item on that page relates, most container ships burn bunker fuel but the calculation is still the same. Even taking into consideration the size of ultra-large cargo ships, they don't use anywhere near thousands of gallons per mile to move across the water.

GP was correct (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29580591)

It *is* measured in thousands of GPM:

120 gallons per mile == 0.12 thousands of gallons per mile

See?

Re:It's a start (5, Informative)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#29581217)

According to WikiAnswers, if a cargo ship travels at 30 mph (roughly 26 knots), it burns 120 gallons per mile.

The largest container ships in the word operate on diesel engines with about 114000 HP at 25.5 knots. The engines consume (at peak efficiency, not regular operating conditions) 0.260 lbs/hp/hr of fuel. Diesel is around 7 lbs/gal, so the calc works out to about 144 gals/mile... at peak efficiency.

I saw your claim and thought, "What about superfreighters?" After some back-of-the-envelope calculation, I'm surprised at their relative fuel efficiency...

However, they're still dirty, dirty ships. One superfreighter releases the same SOx emissions as 50 million passenger cars. So even though the fuel usage isn't as bad as it one might think, there are other reasons why nuclear would be better.

Go Full Sail (2, Interesting)

Tekfactory (937086) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580557)

We did it once upon a time.

Apparently Supertankers and Cargo ships have cut their speeds down to 10 knots to save fuel, some of the greatest Cargo ships of the Age of Sail managed 13 knots no dinosaur juice needed.

And everything one of the other posters cited about better materials and new designs still applies.

Flettner Rotors are more efficient than conventional sails, they failed because Diesel was just too cheap.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotor_ship [wikipedia.org]

Enercon a Wind Turbine company built a Rotor Assisted ship to ship its Wind Turbines and cut fuel cost 30%
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enercon [wikipedia.org]
http://www.treehugger.com/files/2008/08/flettner-rotors-cut-fuel-use.php [treehugger.com]

Re:Go Full Sail (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 4 years ago | (#29582307)

Full sail is not physically possible for the size of ships today. Large container ships are orders of magnitude more dense, and also carry orders of magnitude more cargo. Even if you could sail, tight control is needed due to high winds in ports with small channels blowing ships off course, not possible with sails. Large shipping companies pour millions into R&D to reduce fuel costs because even a 1% reduction in fuel cost nets millions of dollars in savings for these companies. The reason you don't see sails is that they are not feasible. Margins are razor thin, as shown by the shipping sector posting billions in losses for the first half of the year. Over 5% of capacity is idle. Your sailboat does not amuse me.

Re:It's a start (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580567)

With the air craft carriers no one seems to have a NIMBY problem. You could move quite a bit of cargo with a few lbs of uranium.

So it'll require hiring some more staff (Like an actual engineer and maybe some armed guards). The US Navy has managed to not have any nuclear powered vessel captured by pirates.

Ok, so now we'll need to protect cargo ships same way that we do aircraft carriers. Hmm, do we have enough battleships for escort?

Re:It's a start (1)

mayko (1630637) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580993)

Ok, so now we'll need to protect cargo ships same way that we do aircraft carriers. Hmm, do we have enough battleships for escort?

The fleet that accompanies an aircraft carrier is not for pirate protection... they are there to protect against submarines and battleships, and to resupply the aircraft with fuel and munitions.

Forgive me if I'm not giving the pirates enough credit, but until they have modern submarines and battleships, or fighter/bombers... then I think a few armed guards with sniper rifles and maybe a large caliber deck gun would suffice.

Re:It's a start (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584911)

Forgive me if I'm not giving the pirates enough credit, but until they have modern submarines and battleships, or fighter/bombers... then I think a few armed guards with sniper rifles and maybe a large caliber deck gun would suffice.

Many foreign governments frown on (as in its illegal) the possession of so much as a handgun by unauthorized personnel in their territorial waters.

But then the easy solution would be to work out a set of international regulations permitting commercial vessels to be so armed. Countries could elect to sign such an agreement or not. Nuclear powered vessels would only be permitted to operate in international waters, or where they are able to avail themselves of the proper security. If nukes prove to be such a great cost savings (taking carbon emission charges into account), they'll price the fossil fuel shipping out of the market. Countries that won't sign on to the requisite treaties will be bypassed. Their populations will starve. Eventually they'll sign.

Re:It's a start (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#29581809)

The only US battleships left are museum ships or in reserve.
Actually a nuclear powered ship would be well defended from pirates by not slowing down to save fuel and not sailing near dangerous areas to save fuel.

Re:It's a start (1)

drainbramage (588291) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584939)

Wouldn't a better comparison be between Ships and Freight trains?
Mostly going in relatively straight lines with limited (compared to trucks) ports.
Sorry, no car analogy.

Re:It's a start (4, Informative)

Weh (219305) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580467)

ehm, have you ever studied ships?

Large ships already have extremely efficient two stroke diesel engines (even over 50% which is extremely high if you consider the carnot max) They also have many devices to recover waste heat.

Propeller designs are already very sophisticated, difficult to improve there.

weight: the weight of the ship is very low relative to the amount of cargo it carries (compared to e.g. a truck). Also, the ship sails at relatively low speeds and mostly in a straight line so acceleration/deceleration losses that increase with mass are not really a factor.

All in all cargo ships are already the most efficient mode of transport on a fuel/cargo weight-distance ratio basis.

Re:It's a start (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29581777)

Well, my farts probably produce 100 times as much SOx emissions as the vehicles I drive. It's not terribly meaningful to compare two different fuel sources.

Re:It's a start (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29582381)

The Emma Maersk class freighters carry about 154,000 tons of cargo. Given the earlier ballpark of 144 gallons per mile, that works out to about 1070 ton-miles per gallon. Compare that to a F150 which can make 28 ton-miles per gallon...

I'm sure at the fuel expenses the shipping companies have, saving a percent or two would be huge.

Good God, we've gone overboard on global warming (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29580083)

Anybody care to calculate exactly how many orders of magnitude greenhouse gasses from seagoing vessels are below automobile emissions?

Yes, every little bit helps, but the driving force behind keeping ships barnacle-free without drydocking sure as shit isn't to ameliorate global warming. Better efficiency and being able to be at sea more is why this is being looked at - NOT greenhouse gas reductions. So why the hell is a third- or tenth-order minor benefit listed described as the prime reason behind this research?

Geez.

Re:Good God, we've gone overboard on global warmin (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580347)

So why the hell is a third- or tenth-order minor benefit listed described as the prime reason behind this research?

If you can make ships more efficient in the water, making ships that run on renewable sources becomes more possible. Steam- and diesel-powered vessels were invented to improve speed (and capacity) in the water. The more you can improve the efficiency, the more speed you can get out of less and less energy. Which makes things like wind power (sails) or solar power (electricity) more and more of a possibility.

Re:Good God, we've gone overboard on global warmin (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29580791)

So why the hell is a third- or tenth-order minor benefit listed described as the prime reason behind this research?

If you can make ships more efficient in the water, making ships that run on renewable sources becomes more possible. Steam- and diesel-powered vessels were invented to improve speed (and capacity) in the water. The more you can improve the efficiency, the more speed you can get out of less and less energy. Which makes things like wind power (sails) or solar power (electricity) more and more of a possibility.

True, but that's still a second-order benefit at best because shipowners ALREADY wanted more efficient ships long before any environmental concerns ever arose because such ships have always been cheaper to run.

Look at the changes in ships between 1850 and 1950. Do you really think environmental concerns drove those changes? Do you really think the owners of Liberian-flagged and Filipino-and-others-crewed vessels really care one whit about the environment? Yet even those ships have become more efficient and therefore more environment-friendly over the decades.

And that's only because when large ocean-going vessels are involved, the profit motive aligns pretty nicely with environmental concerns.

Re:Good God, we've gone overboard on global warmin (1)

EndlessNameless (673105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29582881)

If you can make ships more efficient in the water, making ships that run on renewable sources becomes more possible.

While there may be technical merit to what you say, the economics imply the reverse.

If the ship is more energy-efficient, the savings from switching to renewable energy will be lower, which in turn will delay the transition to renewable energy sources.

Energy efficiency is a bit of double-edged sword in this regard, but there is still the big picture. The more time existing ships can spend at sea, the fewer ships we'll need to build to get the job done. A win for energy consumption in end, yes---but be careful of the assumption that it will benefit the adoption of renewable energy sources.

Re:Good God, we've gone overboard on global warmin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29580461)

The same reason there is so much hype surrounding H1N1: to get attention.

Re:Good God, we've gone overboard on global warmin (1, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580517)

Probably because only shipping-industry related people care about defouling costs and drydock days per 100 shipping days and whatnot, while "green" is the theme of the week and will garner press?

I'm sure that the writeup of the same research in whatever the trade rag for shipping/shipbuilding is is talking all about the possible efficiency benefits over conventional antifouling paint; but that is kind of a niche interest. It's pretty much like any other industry/niche specific tech work. If you are writing for the inside audience, you go over the salient benefits first. If you are writing for the peanut gallery at large, you focus on whatever is simple and has public attention at the time.

(Also, parenthetically, it is worth noting that, when trying to optimize something like fuel consumption or emissions, you don't go for the largest source first, you go for the cheapest source first and work progressively up to more expensive sources until you hit whatever the target or break-even point is.)

Re:Good God, we've gone overboard on global warmin (1)

Tim4444 (1122173) | more than 4 years ago | (#29581791)

you go for the cheapest source first

I would rather say you go for the most cost effective improvements first. I assume you mean to go after the low hanging fruit first. There's no point wasting time on optimizations that don't give decent returns for your dollar. Even if they're cheap they're still a waste of money. It may well be possible to spend less on one expensive but effective optimization rather than implementing a bunch of cheap but ineffective optimizations - even if they both yield the same net improvement.

Re:Good God, we've gone overboard on global warmin (1)

bhima (46039) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580817)

This is factually wrong. Ocean going transport represents a significant portion of all pollutions, including green house gasses.

Re:Good God, we've gone overboard on global warmin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29584149)

This is factually wrong. Ocean going transport represents a significant portion of all pollutions, including green house gasses.

Really? So put some numbers on it.

According to this [worldwatch.org] , there were 531 MILLION cars on the Earth - six years ago.

Half-a-BILLION cars - damn near all of them spewing pollutants.

And how many TENS OF MILLIONS of large trucks?

How many THOUSANDS of large-seagoing vessels that would be able to take advantage of the technology in question are there? And get this - the diesel engines of large merchant vessels aren't all that huge - 20,000 HP would be a monster. Note that there are probably 1,000 HP automobiles you can buy for some decent coin, and 300 or 400 HP cars are pretty damn common.

And that's ignoring large trucks - it wouldn't surprise me to find out that there are some trucks with bigger diesels than most ships. And there are a helluva lot more trucks on this planet than there are ships.

Now, toss in the fact that the relatively tiny engine on a ship has all kinds of space to hold pollution-abatement gear that won't fit on a car or even a truck, and I must come to this conclusion:

YOU'RE FULL OF SHIT.

Of course, you didn't provide numbers, you pulled weasel-words like "a significant portion of all pollutions" out of your ass. So even if you do manage to pull some numbers that put ship-generated pollution as being six orders of magnitude lower than automobile pollution, you're going to still call that pollution "significant" and feel oh-so-smug about yourself.

Re:Good God, we've gone overboard on global warmin (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580903)

Last I heard, the pollution generated by 8 supercargo ships was equivalent to the total released by every road vehicle in America. That is quite significant.

I don't really care about global warming that much (ok, I do, but its not my primary motivation for my energy policy beliefs). The climate will change, one way or the other regardless of what we do. We are in a warm period of an ice age, sooner or later that ice age will end, it may also return to global glaciation at some point before that.

Re:Good God, we've gone overboard on global warmin (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29581763)

Last I heard, the pollution generated by 8 supercargo ships was equivalent to the total released by every road vehicle in America. That is quite significant.

I don't really care about global warming that much (ok, I do, but its not my primary motivation for my energy policy beliefs). The climate will change, one way or the other regardless of what we do. We are in a warm period of an ice age, sooner or later that ice age will end, it may also return to global glaciation at some point before that.

WHAT? EIGHT ships? Eight?

Are you kidding?

Somebody yanked your chain good and yanked it good.

And you apparently didn't even think about it.

If you put 2 20,000 HP diesels in those 8 ships - that's 16 diesel engines. Hell, put four in each vessel - that'd be 32 diesel engins. Just have them spewing raw exhaust into the atmosphere, you'd match what? A few hundred 18-wheeler trucks?

Re:Good God, we've gone overboard on global warmin (1)

Nadaka (224565) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584279)

Last I heard, the pollution generated by 8 supercargo ships was equivalent to the total released by every road vehicle in America. That is quite significant.

I don't really care about global warming that much (ok, I do, but its not my primary motivation for my energy policy beliefs). The climate will change, one way or the other regardless of what we do. We are in a warm period of an ice age, sooner or later that ice age will end, it may also return to global glaciation at some point before that.

WHAT? EIGHT ships? Eight?

Are you kidding?

Somebody yanked your chain good and yanked it good.

And you apparently didn't even think about it.

If you put 2 20,000 HP diesels in those 8 ships - that's 16 diesel engines. Hell, put four in each vessel - that'd be 32 diesel engins. Just have them spewing raw exhaust into the atmosphere, you'd match what? A few hundred 18-wheeler trucks?

For at least some kinds of pollution? probably. "The 15 biggest ships emit about as much sulphur oxide pollution as all cars combined." - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ship_pollution

Next Up.. (2, Funny)

Azarael (896715) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580089)

Genetically engineered whales with a built in cargo hold. You just have to train them well, and take advantage of their natural migration patterns..

Re:Next Up.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29580279)

As fun a thought as it is, I occasionally have the opportunity of working with wild bottlenose dolphins - a species that sheds the outer layer of its skin extremely often, and yet we will still see in-shore animals disappear for a few months, most likely going into deeper waters, only to return later with barnacles attached to the tip of their dorsals.

Now either the barnacles are very, very good at attaching themselves to anything - or there's some freaky dolphin/barnacle action going on in deep waters ;)

Re:Next Up.. (1)

localman57 (1340533) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580327)

"Homing Whales!" I like it! Now, all we have to do is fill them up with flash drives, and make some asinine data-rate comparrison with an ISP.

Re:Next Up.. (2, Interesting)

pz (113803) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580443)

Genetically engineered whales with a built in cargo hold. You just have to train them well, and take advantage of their natural migration patterns..

Ever watch Farscape? The primary vessel in that sci-fi TV series is a space-faring biomechanoid leviathan, one of a class of spaceships that serve mostly as cargo transport. Yep, that's right, just as you suggest, they are genetically engineered whales!

Re:Next Up.. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 4 years ago | (#29582787)

Yep, that's right, just as you suggest, they are genetically engineered whales!

Fuck THAT. All it takes is one near miss or a bad storm off the Philippines, and the next thing you know, your ship is spooked and your shipment of Nintendo DSes is sitting inside the whale in the middle of Abbey Road!

Re:Next Up.. (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580493)

You can hold them in tanks made of transparent aluminum during training. I guarantee that it'll hold whales as you transport them to the future in your spacecraft.

We have a special this month. (2, Funny)

pavon (30274) | more than 4 years ago | (#29581139)

Errant preachers travel for free! *

* select destinations only.

Won't the sailors slip all the time? (3, Funny)

bostei2008 (1441027) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580169)

... stopped reading after the headline...

some sailors still slip inside the ship. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29585617)

It's how they misjudge the entrance of the poopdeck from the cargo hold, now THAT'S epic-fail; wouldn't want any of those braunacles on the Lord's writing implement from failing the proscribe of draft to the children from Heaven.

Teflon? (1)

AdamWeeden (678591) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580341)

Why isn't some sort of non-stick coating such as Teflon not an option?

Re:Teflon? (4, Informative)

eric2hill (33085) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580401)

The glue that barnacles produce will stick to Teflon.

Here is an old 2005 article [nationalgeographic.com] similar to this concept that talks about using a "skin" similar to shark skin to combat the barnacles.

Re:Teflon? (1)

fhuglegads (1334505) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580509)

Since we are looking to the kitchen for solutions, how about spraying the hulls with Pam (or any other woman doing her job.... just kidding.. maybe)

Re:Teflon? (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580477)

I wondered this too. I would imagine the America's Cup boats would have this already, as cost seems to not be a concern.

Re:Teflon? (2, Informative)

fprintf (82740) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580731)

America's cup boats typically are hauled out of the water after every days racing. There is little opportunity for stuff to stick to them because they are always moving, and anything that does stick is washed off. Furthermore there is a ton of work done at low reynolds numbers and boundary layers to ensure the boat bottoms are as efficient as possible - including micro-grooving the bottom material. I am not sure about America's cup, but in many racing series it is against the rules to add any shedding coatings other than anti-foul paint. America's cup boats do not use anti-foul.

nano-blah blah blah (1)

Bootle (816136) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580473)

"nano-molecular arrangement of their skin"

What does this even mean? Isn't it just the 'molecular arrangement of their skin"? Buzzwords are for business majors

"a major contributor of greenhouse gas"... BS.. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29580475)

"Sea-faring vessels are a major contributor of greenhouse gas"

realy?.. you think so?...

man made c02 accounts for about .000013 of the air...

water vapor is by far the LARGEST "greenhouse gas"

Minerva (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29580483)

Just coat the hull with sheets of gold, such as Otto Van Hoek did to the Minerva in 1690.

Make the barnacles work for us (1)

ConsumerOfMany (942944) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580503)

Why not make the hull full of indentations like a golf ball, that way the barnacles would fill in the spaces and make the ship more efficient....

why not just make all hulls out of molded glass? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29585771)

Or GMO a giant clam to grow it's shell in the shape of a Deep-V hull, then spike a captain's bridge and servo'd aft damper onto it's head with a nervous-system override device so we can control the bivalve jet propulsion, trim, tilt, and attack?

Why don't I just use you as a bodyboard next time I go surfing off Laguna Beach? Planet-X, or Eric Raymond and Richard Stallman will kill us before anything like this will make be usefull.

No sails on the horizon. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29580539)

What does this have to do with sailboats? The article doesn't mention sailboats, and this (rather expensive sounding) technology would only be suitable for commercial cargo vessels that are in the water year-round without (ideally) extended stays in port paying mooring fees. And "Synthetic Sebum Makes Slippery Ships" would have rhymed just as nicely.

Sebum (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580571)

Sebum is the stuff that, if not properly emitted by your skin, can form a sebaceous cyst. They're pretty disgusting to drain, although sometimes doctors will just surgically remove the whole offending gland.

If you want to be grossed out, have a look:

http://www.ebaumsworld.com/video/watch/80740591/ [ebaumsworld.com]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8fsco3C_Zc [youtube.com]

BTW, don't pop them yourself as you can get dangerous infections of you mess up. Doctors can deal with them really easily, so it's worth it to go to one if you can when you have one.

Sounds Great for Sailboat Racing (1)

aquatone282 (905179) | more than 4 years ago | (#29580933)

... until you realize you'll still have to send someone under the hull to make sure your opponent hasn't ice-picked a towel to your keel.

Those damn fuel-sucking SUV sailboats... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29580995)

Wouldn't that save more fuel in something other than a *sail*-boat?!

Noone saw the Euphamism? (1)

zish (174783) | more than 4 years ago | (#29581249)

Am I the only one who thought of this? "Synthetic Sebum Makes Slippery Sailboats", if you know what I mean. *wink* *wink*

bio-mimicry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29581395)

Great ideas like this (and this one too) are covered in Janine Benyus' speech, available on TED!

Avast, me hearties! (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#29581607)

... trying to replicate the skin of marine animals to produce a slippery hull ...

So it's back to Whale Oil is it? Queequeg [wikipedia.org] will be pleased.

What a first sentence... (5, Informative)

RobVB (1566105) | more than 4 years ago | (#29581849)

Sea-faring vessels are a major contributor of greenhouse gas production due to a deficit in international laws and inherent inefficiencies at sea, such as barnacle build-up on hulls.

Sea-faring vessels are the single most efficient way of transporting goods we have. The reason they're a big contributor of greenhouse gas production is that our global economy requires that a lot of goods are transported around the world. Try transporting thousands of containers across thousands of miles by truck (please, don't actually try this, it's bad for the environment).

The IMO [imo.org] (wikipedia [wikipedia.org] ) is one of the most widely acknowledged international authorities on anything. They've made a lot of internationally respected laws, improving sea transport on many levels, including the environmental effects.

It's true that hull fouling is a problem for ships. It's also true that many (especially large) ships burn Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO), which contains a lot of pollutants (like sulfur) and isn't as clean as, say, diesel oil. It's also true that ships burn a lot of HFO, and it's true that ships further pollute the seas by dumping garbage overboard.

However, while the amounts of HFO burned by, say, the Emma Maersk [wikipedia.org] , are enormous (about 300 metric tonnes per day at full operation), this is almost nothing when compared to trucks. Assuming 300mt/day at a cruise speed of 25 knots (over 45km/h), that equates to roughly 30 tonnes per 100 km. A semi-trailer truck pulling two TEU containers [wikipedia.org] runs at around 30 liter per 100 km (that's around 8 mpg, anyone that can confirm this number?). This means the Emma Maersk, carrying 14000 TEU, uses 1000 times as much fuel as a truck carrying 2 TEU, which makes this ship about 7 times as fuel efficient as trucks.

And another thing: with HFO costing 300-400 dollars per metric ton, the Emma Maersk burns up about 100,000 dollars per day when running at full capacity (this almost never happens, especially now with the economic crisis, but bear with me). That's about 3 million dollars a month in fuel. The Emma Maersk is crewed by a minimum of 13 seafarers, but let's take 20 for easier calculations, since it's probably closer to reality anyway. Suppose each of those 20 people earn 10,000 dollars a month (which is a lot - maybe the Captain, Chief Officer and Chief Engineer make this much... just maybe). That means total crewing costs for this ship would be 200,000 dollars a month, with fuel costs 15 times higher. What I'm trying to say here is this: it's in the companies' best interest to improve their fuel economy. A 7% increase in fuel efficiency would save them more money than not having to pay the crew. I'm fairly certain there are no cheap and easy ways to drastically reduce fuel usage, or they would have thought of it by now.

All of this is not to say that there isn't room for improvement in the maritime transportation business, far from it. This research and other research like it can and will do great things for the shipping industry and the environment. I just didn't like how the summary made the industry the bad guy here.

P.S. If you want to read more about the IMO's actions on air pollution: go nuts [imo.org] .

Re:What a first sentence... (2, Insightful)

PPalmgren (1009823) | more than 4 years ago | (#29583013)

That vessel, the Emma Maersk and her sisters, save 1200 metric tons of fuel a year with environmentally friendly silicone paint used up to the high water line. 1200mt * $300/mt = $360,000 * 8 ships = 2.88 million a year. The fuel savings is a little over 1% of yearly operation. 1% is serious business. It is in their best interest to chase fuel efficiency, and they do so with millions in R&D.

Re:What a first sentence... (0, Offtopic)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585231)

It's missing a comma, too.

"That vessel, the Emma Maersk and her sisters," should be "That vessel, the Emma Maersk, and her sisters,".

We're using commas to separate list elements. Let's not drop commas just because we have the word "and" there - that's sloppy, lazy, and ambiguous. English is shitty and ambiguous enough, so we need to avoid that shit whenever we can.

Now, if "that vessel" is referring to the Emma Maersk, then it should be a parenthetical.
"That vessel (the Emma Maersk), and her sisters,".

But who the fuck knows what that sentence was actually supposed to mean.

Barnacles != Bacteria (1)

Wowlapalooza (1339989) | more than 4 years ago | (#29582273)

as the article summary implies. They're crustaceans (thus related to crabs and lobsters), their phylum is arthropod.

Re:Barnacles != Bacteria (1)

Wowlapalooza (1339989) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585243)

Never mind, as I read further into TFA, it appears that the larger organisms, such as arthropods, get their foothold from bacteria, and that this new "skin" that's being developed is therefore primarily anti-bacterial. The article summary probably could have been worded to make this connection more obvious, but there's only so much that can be done in the limited space available...

Invasive Species Deterrent (1)

neorush (1103917) | more than 4 years ago | (#29582489)

I live in an area with lots of small interconnected lakes and streams. We have big problems with invasive species attaching themselves to boats as they move through different waterways (the zebra mussel is one good example), this kind of material would be great for even smaller applications like motorboats that traverse these water ways to decrease invasive species proliferation.

Re:Invasive Species Deterrent (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585161)

Species travels to new location on it's own, on another animal, on a boat, truck, or whatever.

Species takes root and kicks ass. Weaker species die out. It's just nature doing its thing. I think Disney wrote a song about it.

What you're preaching is segregation.

Contradictory write-up... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584107)

Sea-faring vessels are a major contributor of greenhouse gas production due to a deficit in international laws [...] toxic to marine animals and thus outlawed by several nations

It seems, that when it really matters, national laws banning undesirable practices are quite effective...

Old news. (1)

etnoy (664495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584187)

This is nothing new. The 1987 U.S. America's Cup challenger Stars and Stripes pioneered the idea of having a specifically structured texture on the outer hull. Source (see page 60) [google.com] .
Later on the internaional yacht racing rules [sailing.org] were amended with rule no. 53,

A boat shall not eject or release a substance, such as a polymer, or have specially textured surfaces that could improve the character of the flow of water inside the boundary layer.

.
The Stars and Stripes design was to use microscopic V-grooves alongside the hull, and when optimized for a specific speed throgh the water, actually gave some improvement. If the scientists could get this to work in tough conditions like on cargo ships as well, we could save a lot of energy.

Re:Old news. (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584739)

Yeahbut, leave that expensive, micro-grooved hull sitting in sea water for a year or two and see what the barnacle buildup looks like.

On the other hand, rule 53 doesn't apply to cargo ships. Anything that doesn't poison the fish is fair game.

How about this? (2, Interesting)

mencomenco (551866) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584431)

Has anyone tried adding the well-known Microban additives to marine paints?

TFA states that barnacle infestation begins with filming of bacteria on the hull, followed by algea eating the bacteria, then barnacles feeding on the algea.

Some Microban additives puncture bacteria and hence kill them. They are used in kitchen and medical equipment and institutional wall paints. Why not attack the root of the food chain rather than the top rung?

Nano-Molecular Arrangement (1)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585077)

"or through the nano-molecular arrangement of their skin" should be "or through their skin".

Oh wait, we talked about pores already?
The entire sentence should be dropped.

Not everything has to be nano, cyber, 2.0, cloud-based, or other such bullshit, kids.

Or, the easy way... (2, Funny)

auroracita (1646739) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585373)

We could just keelhaul more people. They'll scrape all the crap right off the bottom of your ship. Or they'll get stuck down there and create a bigger problem. Either way, it's entertainment. Yar.
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