Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Jonathan J. Wilker

Committee Member 1

David R McMillin

Committee Member 2

Corey M Thompson

Committee Member 3

Jeffrey Youngblood


Since the early ages of oceanic transportation, ship hulls have been encrusted with foulers including barnacles, oysters, and mussels. With the attachment of these animals, vessels exhibit a decrease in top speed while fuel consumption increases. This not only becomes expensive, but also has contributions to climate change. Current antifouling coatings function by releasing toxic copper into the water, keeping hulls clean at the expense of marine life. Consequently, there is great need to develop environmentally benign coatings to reduce biological adhesion. Recent mechanistic insights suggest that the marine mussel, Mytilus edulis, adheres with proteins that undergo oxidative cross-linking. Our work has focused on taking a mechanistic approach to defeat adhesion with the incorporation of reducing agents into a variety of coatings to inhibit oxidative chemistry and glue formation. Literature also supports that with lower surface energy coatings, adhesion strength decreases. Therefore, we have investigated what effect lowering the surface energy of a coating with the addition of reducing agents has on mussel adhesion.