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Nature inspires the design of synthetic materials with superhydrophobic properties, which can be used for applications ranging from self-cleaning surfaces to microfluidic devices. Their water repellent properties are due to hierarchical (micrometer- and nanometre-scale) surface morphological structures, either made of hydrophobic substances or hydrophobized by appropriate surface treatment. In this work, the efficiency of two surface treatment procedures, with a hydrophobic fluoropolymer, synthesized and deposited from 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorooctyltrichlorosilane (PFOTS) is investigated. The procedures involved reactions from the gas and liquid phases of the PFOTS/hexane solutions. The hierarchical structure is created in an epoxy nanocomposite surface, by filling the resin with alumina nanoparticles and micron-sized glass beads and subsequent sandblasting with corundum microparticles. The chemical structure of the deposited fluoropolymer was examined using XPS spectroscopy. The topography of the modified surfaces was characterized using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM). The hydrophobic properties of the modified surfaces were investigated by water contact and sliding angles measurements. The surfaces exhibited water contact angles of above 150° for both modification procedures, however only the gas phase modification provided the non-sticking behaviour of water droplets (sliding angle of 3°). The discrepancy is attributed to extra surface roughness provided by the latter procedure.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.