Antifouling System Extends Instrument Deployment by Up to Six Weeks
Cost reduction has become a primary focus for nearly every public and private research institution. The environmental monitoring industry has not been immune to the cost-cutting efforts and seeks innovative waysto help field monitoring professionals gain efficiency. This has led to the development of newtechnologiesthat extend deployment duration and minimize costly maintenance procedures, while delivering a high level of dataquality.
The TTOUiSShield Antifouling System, developed by ln-9tu®lnc., wasdesigned to inhibit biofouling of environmental monitoring instruments. An ln-9tu Aqua TKXJJB200 Instrument outfitted with the TKXL Shield copper guard and nose cone was tested against a control instrument. The test compared conductivity performance and visual biofouling depositsfrom instrumentsdeployed in a high-fouling environment.
The TR)LL Shield technology reduced the impacts of fouling on conductivity readings by more than 50 percent over the control Aqua TRDLL 200 Instrument and extended maintenance intervals by six weeks beyond the control instrument.
Technological advances in water quality monitoring equipment have caused a paradigm shift in why users conduct site visits. New optical sensor technologies and design improvementsto existing sensors minimize or eliminate inherent sensor drift—delivering better data over longer calibration cycles, femote data acquisition platforms eliminate the need to physically connect to an instrument to download data. More efficient power management and solar powered systems allow deployments of several months without the need to replace or recharge batteries. These technological advances improve instrument performance when environmental limitationsare placed on monitoring systems.
Bofouling is now the major limiting factor in monitoring many aquatic environments. Thisis especially true in coastal or warmer waters wherethe development of bio-films, or micro-fouling, can occur within hours of deployment. Macro-fouling by larger organisms has been of m^or concern for yearsin the shipping industry and also plagues environmental monitoring systems. Both types of fouling cause sensor impediment by interfering with electrodes or optical systems, restricting theflow of natural water, and decreasing the mobility of the sonde itself. These sensor limitations can significantly increase maintenance costs, reduce overall data quality, and permanently damage instrumentation.
Antifouling technologies fall within afew categories based on the mechanism of protection. These mechanisms include mechanical antifouling control methods (wipers, screens, non-stick coatings, air blasts, and ultrasonic systems), biocides(anti-microbial coatings and use of toxic metals), and intermittent sterilization (UVexposure or chlorine solutions).