The effect of modulus and film thickness on the release of adhered spores and sporelings (young plants) of the green fouling alga Ulva (syn. Enteromorpha) was investigated. PDMS elastomers of constant thickness (100 mm) but different elastic moduli were prepared by varying cross-link density with functional silicone oligomers with degrees of polymerization ranging from 18 - 830. This provided a 50-fold range of modulus values between 0.2 and 9.4 MPa. Three PDMS coatings of different thicknesses were tested at constant elastic modulus (0.8 MPa). The data revealed no significant increase in percentage spore removal except at the lowest modulus of 0.2 MPa although sporelings released more readily at all but the highest modulus. The influence of coating thickness was also greater for the release of sporelings compared to spores. The release data are discussed in the light of fracture mechanics models that have been applied to hard fouling. New concepts appertaining to the release of soft fouling organisms are proposed, which take into account the deformation in the adhesive base of the adherand and deformation of the PDMS film.
- elastic modulus
- green algae