Chemical Engineering Journal, Vol.368, 18-28, 2019
Facile, solvent-free fabrication of a robust 3-dimensional continuous superhydrophobic coating with wettability control and abrasion healing
The fragility of fine structure and the compromise of unique wettability upon mechanical destruction have obviously restricted the industrial manufactures and practical applications of non-wetting surfaces. Herein, to solve these urgent problems, a 3-dimensional continuous superhydrophobic coating with crosslinked low-surface-energy hierarchical structure extending throughout the entire coating volume was fabricated via facile and strategic integration of UV covalently crosslinked vinyltriethoxysilane (VTES) with silica particles (SiO2). The as-synthesized coating exhibited superhydrophobic nature with the contact angle (CA) of 164 degrees and sliding angle (SA) lower than 4 degrees. Taking the advantage of the 3-dimensional continuous superhydrophobicity, the robust coating not only showed outstanding stability to severely mechanical damage, but also rapidly and efficiently repaired its superhydrophobicity through mechanical abrasion such as finger wide and sandpaper abrasion after losing non-wetting ability. More importantly, this simple abrasion healing approach presented great repeatability. Furthermore, this synthesized coating with special wettability remained unperturbed after being subjected to various complicated conditions, including oil environments, common commercial drinks, long-term UV irradiation and complex aqueous phases (strong acid/alkali and salty solutions). Given that this approach is facile, time-saving and solvents-and fluorochemicals-free, it conceivably provides an important opportunity to advance the fabrication of multifunctional continuous surperhydrophobic materials with promising applications.