Applied Surface Science, Vol.386, 309-318, 2016
Grafting of PMMA brushes layer on Cu surface to create a stable superhydrophobic surface
In this paper, poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) brushes were grafted on Cu micro-cone structured substrate by a simple one-step cathodic electro-initiated polymerization method which was carried out in aqueous solution at room temperature in the open air. The PMMA brushes were continuous, uniform and thickness-controllable, and it covalently bonded to the Cu surface. In the brushes, nitrophenyl moieties acted as cross-linker between PMMA chains. After removed from the solution followed by treated with water, the PMMA brushes (basically a hydrophilic material)/micro-cone structured Cu surface was hydrophilic with water contact angle (CA) of 74.4. However, it exhibited superhydrophobicity by treating it in the acetone. The conversion from hydrophilic surface to superhydrophobic one may due to rearrangement of nitrophenyl moieties and PMMA chains at the topmost of the brushes. In addition, its water CA increased with grafting time of the brushes from 145 to about 166, because there was no available space in thinner film for group reorientation. The surface was conversed to hydrophilic again after treated with hot water, but it was still superhydrophobic after treated in water at room temperature. This revealed that the group reorientation also easily occurred in hot water like in the acetone. More importantly, the surface retained good superhydrophobic stability in acidic environment and in long-time storage. Furthermore, the superhydrophobic surface had excellent resistance that can provide effective protection for the bare Cu substrate. (C) 2016 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.