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Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Cold War Undersea Technology? or Snake Oil?

Two walls of the engine room have been painted with this stuff:

It is a paint called "Silent Running". Made in USA, this is a paint that is designed to reduce noise and vibration emanating from the engine room and throughout the boat. It does this by converting low frequency sound waves, like those from marine diesel engine vibration, into heat. Sounds like something out of a Tom Clancy novel doesn't it?

I would be very skeptical of this stuff, if I hadn't seen a live demonstration at IBEX a few years ago. It really does work. And since then it has earned some innovation awards. More traditional methods of sound dampening an engine room involve thick foam, sometimes lead-lined, which can be heavy and difficult to install. This stuff just rolls right on. However, it applies much different than your typical paint. It has the consistency of pancake batter. Now it is not designed to look pretty, and it doesn't. This stuff dries to a gray color (I think it is also available in white), and roller marks are obvious. But it is going to be covered up with engine room mechanical bits, so I am not particular on its looks.

Yes, it is a bit expensive, but my cost is pretty reasonable ( for relative cost comparison 1 gal of Silent Running == 2 gal of Bilgekote).
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