One of the biggest challenges for a mariner is keeping their boat clean. Exposed to the beating sun and corrosive saltwater all year, boats need to be resilient to the most challenging of environments. More than that, they have to be able to shrug off the knocks a boat can endure, from heavy gear being dragged across the decks to years of footsteps stomping from bow to stern. To do this, marine coatings need to be able to be resilient and able to hold their colour; something that titanium dioxide helps them with.
Titanium dioxide in paints has a number of brilliant qualities which make it perfectly suited for marine coatings. Firstly, titanium dioxide white pigment is essential to having bright colours. This is actually very important on boats, where being brightly coloured makes you more visible at sea and prevents accidents! The coating is also scratch resistant, very important if you’re moving anchors around or fishing. Beyond that, boats are increasingly being made with plastic parts. These often incorporate titanium dioxide directly into the materials to give them colour and increase their durability.
The above uses for titanium dioxide are just the beginning of its uses on boats. One issue for boats from pleasure craft to cruise ships is the build-up of weeds on the bottom of the boat. New uses of titanium dioxide exploit the way it interacts with the sun to halt the growth of plants, presenting it as an alternative to other forms of antifouling. This is important not just because boats without growth look better, they’re also much more efficient at going through the water – reducing fuel consumption and emissions from marine transport.
Titanium dioxide is an extremely useful component of any marine coating. Next time you’re by the sea and see white boats bobbing in the water be sure to think about the brilliant substances that keep them in pristine condition!