April 14, 2011
A finely tuned racing sailboat and crew can reach speeds upwards of 50mph. While smaller sailboats rarely reach half of that speed, a hull free of barnacles and other marine organisms is necessary for efficient sailing. Chemists as early as the 18th century used highly toxic metal based antifouling compounds, such as copper plating and more recently tributyl tin, but ecosystem toxicity has led to new antifouling materials. Recently, environmentally friendly polymers have been developed to decrease marine toxicity, while allowing sail boat enthusiast to enjoy smooth sailing.