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Thursday, 19 September 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Applications

Macroinitiators graft polymerization of antifouling brush coatings

Thursday, 9 January 2014

A team of Singaporean researchers synthesized PAzBrMA as the macroinitiator and anchor for a functional polymer brush coating on polyurethane (PU) films.

A macroinitiator and anchor for antimicrobial brush coatings was developed

Source: Sebastian Kaulitzki/Fotolia

A macroinitiator and anchor for antimicrobial brush coatings was developed

Source: Sebastian Kaulitzki/Fotolia

Ring-opening reaction of the epoxide group of poly(glycidyl methacrylate) with sodium azide produced the hydroxyl and azide functional groups. The scientists from the National University of Singapore substituted the hydroxyl groups with 2-bromoisobutyryl bromide to introduce the alkyl halide initiator. For anchoring, ultraviolet irradiation was applied to convert the azide groups of Poly[3-azido-2-(2-bromo-2-methylpropanoyloxy)propyl methacrylate] (PAzBrMA) physically coated on the PU surface into nitrene intermediates.

Nitrene groups reacted through hydrogen abstraction

The results showed that the nitrene groups reacted with hydrocarbon moieties on the PU surface through hydrogen abstraction to form amine linkages. A photomask could then be employed to create a patterned surface during irradiation. Thus, the anchoring of a PAzBrMA macroinitiator can be achieved under mild conditions, without the use of strong solvents and high temperatures, which will swell or degrade the PU substrates. Finally, 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (HEMA) and poly(ethylene glycol) methacrylate (PEGMA) are graft-polymerized on the PAzBrMA-anchored PU film by surface-initiated atom transfer radical polymerization.

PU surfaces with HEMA and PEGMA reduce fouling

In comparison with the pristine PU surface, the PU surfaces with grafted HEMA and PEGMA brush coatings were effective in reducing bovine serum albumin adsorption (protein fouling), adhesion of Staphylococcus epidermidis and Pseudomonas sp. (microfouling), and barnacle cyprid settlement (macrofouling). The present surface modification approach provides a simple and versatile means for micropatterning and functionalization of the polymer surfaces.

The study is published in: Journal of Materials Chemistry B, Issue 4, 2014, pp 398-408.

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