Ultrasonic Anti-Fouling System

Fact or Fable?

Ultrasonic Anti-Fouling Systems have been in the market for several years now. There is a clear relationship between Ultrasound and the killing of one-cellulair organisms. This has now been scientifically proven. Research has also shown that the frequencies of the Ultrasonic signal between 20 and 60 kHz have the most effect, clearly the 23 kHz being the most important. Obviously, this is highly dependent on what type of bacteria we are dealing with and that is also strongly varying per region and water temperature.

Is Ultrasonic applicable to combat marine fouling?

Unfortunately, there has been a lot of experiments in the market with Ultrasoon which has resulted in skepticism and some form of negativity about Ultrasoon. Some common situations that contributed to this tenor:

  • Wrong systems: Unfortunately, there are a large number of systems in the market that do not do what they have promised. The technology is not fully developed and the fundamental approach to using Ultrasoon is wrong or to careless. Do not be tempted by stories about guarantees and (in) certainties but focus on demonstrable (years of) experience and real results. It is not black magic but just science and technology. Systems that are offered as the ultimate solution whereby no further growth can occur, sound too good to be true. Unfortunately it is that too. Rely on experience and result;
  • Wrong technique: Ultrasound is also used for cleaning surfaces or constructions. Often this is high power Ultrasound. There are also systems with transducers hanging in the water or radiating. The proven technique is based on the principle that the construction (hull, seachest, bos cooler, pipes, etc.) is also used as a sound box to strengthen the Ultrasonic signal (it is, after all, sound). The transducer must have the ability and freedom to apply the Ultrasonic signal forcefully to the structure;
  • Incorrectly installed systems: Most systems are composed of a control box and separate transducers. The transducers are usually glued against the construction. This seems like a simple job and that is the fact. However, if the (2-component) adhesive bond is not properly applied, or surfaces are not degreased, or if there are irregularities, corrosion, etc., then the transducer can not transmit the (light and sensitive) Ultrasonic signal properly, causing undesired it is concluded that Ultrasonic does not work;
  • Continuous use: An important condition is of course that the system must always remain on power 24/7. It is a preventive system which means that the construction must be completely clean (cleaned or new) before using Ultrasonic technology. As soon as fouling has started (because the system has lasted for more than 3 days without power, for example) it is unfortunately no longer possible to stop or remove it with Ultrasound. At best, it slows down the growth somewhat, but not more than that. Also understandable because it is sound, low power, Ultrasound. As soon as growth has arisen, the sound signal is also attenuated, which has a very negative effect on the effect;


To the question ‘Ultrasonic Anti-Fouling – Fact or Fable?’ We can answer unequivocally powerful: Fact! The only real important thing is that certain critical conditions are met. This is very important to be able to use Ultrasonic as a system for the prevention of biofilm and fouling.

The 4 golden Ultrasonic Anti-Fouling rules!

  • Start with a clean, fouling-free construction (hull, pipe, pipe, etc.)
  • Only use a well-recognized system (experience and result)
  • Ensure that the system is installed carefully and professionally
  • Always leave the system on 24/7 (alarm message)

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