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Fouling resistance of UHMW plastic

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  • Ford and Mary Ann Walton
    Group, Over a year ago, Richard Spelling sent me some UHMW plastic to test for resistance to marine growth of various kinds. Since then it has been tied to my
    Message 1 of 5 , Feb 6, 2004
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      Group,

      Over a year ago, Richard Spelling sent me some UHMW plastic to test for
      resistance to marine growth of various kinds. Since then it has been
      tied to my dock growing various things. The short story is that weed,
      tube worms, barnacles, etc. will attach to the plastic, but they are
      easy to clean off. Scrubbing with an old toothbrush got off everything
      but the barnacles, and those, base and all, were removed with a plastic
      scraper made for removing ice from windshields.

      Details: The canal is off Charlotte Harbor, in southwest Florida, and
      the salinity ranges from almost fresh in the rainy season to about 50%
      seawater in the dry. The natural foulers include oysters, barnacles,
      sabellid polychaetes (tube worms), and several kinds of algae.

      The UHMW was a strip about 1" x 8" x 1/4" thick. It was tied to a
      plastic bottle to keep it at a constant depth of 6". UHMW floats, so I
      tied a small weight at one end to sink it. A strip of oak, about the
      same size was hung beside it for comparison. The oak collected foulers
      at about the same rate as the plastic, but was eaten by borers or rotted
      off after a few months.

      There were a few low tides that left the strip hanging in the air for a
      few hours, but it did not seem to harm the attached organisms.

      Cleaning the strip was not hard. I scrubbed it with an old toothbrush
      and removed everything but the barnacles. They came off with some
      vigorous scraping with a windshield ice scraper. Scraping barnacles
      usually leaves the flat, white base attached, but the bases came off
      with the rest of the barnacle. A steel putty knife would have worked
      too, but I didn't want to scratch the UHMW. The clean strip is back in
      the canal, floating this time, to see what else will grow on it.

      Thanks to Richard for supplying the test strip.

      Ford Walton
    • doug6949
      Ford; You have an interesting experiment going. I use UHMW for a variety of industrial applications and knew it must be good for something on a boat. Sounds
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 6, 2004
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        Ford;

        You have an interesting experiment going. I use UHMW for a variety of
        industrial applications and knew it must be good for something on a
        boat. Sounds like the perfect antifouling but for the fact that it
        doesn't bond with anything.

        UHMW should make a good cutlass bearing. It is used as the runner
        strips for snowmobile tracks. Lasts forever as long as it has some
        moisture present.

        Doug
      • smitty97006
        I m curious about UHMW is there a way to join pieces of this via heat etc and if so is the sheet material and joint strong enough to make a boat out of the
        Message 3 of 5 , Feb 7, 2004
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          I'm curious about UHMW is there a way to join pieces of this via heat
          etc and if so is the sheet material and joint strong enough to make a
          boat out of the material itself, as it seems to be made in a wide
          variety of thicknesses and sheet sizes, not unlike plywood.

          Gene Smith
        • doug6949
          UHMW s virtue is that it is extremely tough. Unfortunately, it has very low tensile strength and elastic modulus. This is the opposite of what you would want
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 8, 2004
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            UHMW's virtue is that it is extremely tough. Unfortunately, it has
            very low tensile strength and elastic modulus. This is the opposite of
            what you would want for building a boat. UHMW is often called poor
            man's teflon as it's use and properties are similar, though not quite
            as slick or temperature resistant.

            Doug

            --- In bolger@yahoogroups.com, "smitty97006" <cautious@a...> wrote:
            > I'm curious about UHMW is there a way to join pieces of this via
            heat
            > etc and if so is the sheet material and joint strong enough to make
            a
            > boat out of the material itself, as it seems to be made in a wide
            > variety of thicknesses and sheet sizes, not unlike plywood.
            >
            > Gene Smith
          • Ford and Mary Ann Walton
            Gene, It is not all that strong, and not easy to join at corners. It s used on the bottom of drift boats to help them slide over rocks. If you do a Google
            Message 5 of 5 , Feb 9, 2004
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              Gene,

              It is not all that strong, and not easy to join at corners. It's used
              on the bottom of drift boats to help them slide over rocks. If you do a
              Google search and look at several suppliers, some of them sell sheets
              with adhesive already applied. Those look like they would stick to
              smooth fiberglass, but I have not tried them.

              Ford Walton



              smitty97006 wrote:
              >
              > I'm curious about UHMW is there a way to join pieces of this via heat
              > etc and if so is the sheet material and joint strong enough to make a
              > boat out of the material itself, as it seems to be made in a wide
              > variety of thicknesses and sheet sizes, not unlike plywood.
              >
              > Gene Smith
              >
              >
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