Protecting ships and equipment operating in these conditions presents a challenge for coatings manufacturers. The Arctic’s delicate ecosystem makes operations in this region complex. This is compounded by severe cold, deep water, large waves, remote locations, ice drifts, long winter nights and freezing sea spray. Icebreaking ships must also be protected from ice abrasion.
Ships and floating structures in Arctic regions rely heavily on their coatings selection; expenditure on correct paint materials in the first instance will save millions of dollars in the long run. AkzoNobel’s abrasion-resistant Intershield 163 Inerta 160, part of International® range of marine coatings, was selected to protect these vessels.
Abrasion and corrosion
The choice of coatings matters, as the effects of ice can be disastrous. A vessel trading in multi-year ice or first-year ice encounters huge forces of impact and abrasion. If ice abrasion removes the paint, this exposes the bare steel to rapid corrosion.
However, there are specialist coatings, formulated to withstand ice abrasion. These require specific film properties and application conditions to achieve their anti-ice abrasion characteristics. Class societies recognise these properties and can give allowances to reduce steel scantling thickness if these coatings are used, making the vessels lighter and more fuel-efficient.
Field measurements show that these low-friction coatings retain their smooth surfaces even when moving through heavy ice.
The formulation of Intershield163 Inerta 160 has not changed since it was first introduced to the market more than four decades ago. This high-solids, two-pack epoxy abrasion-resistant coating has a low volatile organic compound content. It has low frictional resistance and is designed for ships operating in temperatures as low as -50ᴼC.