Pipelines and heat exchangers using seawater as coolant suffer from biofouling. Biofouling not only reduces heat transfer performance significantly, but also causes considerable pressure drop, calling for higher pumping requirements. It would be much more desirable if surfaces with an inherently lower stickability for biofouling could be developed. In this paper, a cost-effective autocatalytic graded Ni–Cu–P–PTFE composite coating with corrosion-resistant properties was applied to reduce biofouling formation. The experimental results showed that the surface free energy of the Ni–Cu–P–PTFE coatings, which were altered by changing the PTFE content in the coatings, had a significant influence on the adhesion of microbial and mineral deposits. The Ni–Cu–P–PTFE coatings with defined surface free energy reduced the adhesion of these deposits significantly. The anti-bacterial mechanism of the composite coatings was explained with the extended DLVO theory.
- Surface free energy