Paints and coatings play an essential role in shipping far beyond the obvious one of aesthetics. Maintaining ships in a condition suited to their employment involves a constant battle above and below the waterline with the twin enemies of corrosion and fouling.
Coatings are not the only tool in the fight against corrosion. Cathodic protection, chemicals and even the choice of materials are also employed to prevent a ship and its equipment from the inevitable return to iron oxide which is the natural state of the main metal used in ship construction. One day, non-corroding materials may replace steel but while there is progress it is still a long way off and the battle must go on.
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