Biomimetic sharklet surface for anti biofouling applications

In a recent work, researchers combined 3D printing technology and subsurface-initiated ring opening metathesis polymerisation (ROMP) to construct a multi-scale brush-based antifouling surface.

Shark skin is attracting a lot of interest from scientists. Image source: Fgyongyver - Pixabay (symbol image).

A biomimetic sharklet structured substrate embedded with ROMP initiator was prepared by 3D printing with commercial acrylic resin. Then, the embedded poly(ionic liquid) brushes were grafted onto the as-prepared biomimetic sharklet via subsurface-initiated ROMP of a novel ionic liquid monomer containing benzotriazole and imidazole groups ([BNIm][Br]). X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy etching and friction tests demonstrated that poly([BNIm][Br]) can be grafted not only on the surface but on the subsurface of the as-prepared surface, and the as-prepared poly(ionic liquid) brush-based surfaces showed satisfactory wear resistance compared to traditional surface initiated ROMP.

Antifouling performance

Subsequently, the researchers evaluated the anti-biofouling properties of poly([BNIm][Br]) brushes. The results indicated that poly(ionic liquid) brushes can obviously resist adhesion of bovine serum albumin and have good anti-bacterial activity against both E. coli and S. aureus. The as-prepared poly(ionic liquid) brush-based biomimetic surface also exhibited considerable antifouling performance for microalgae (Porphyridium and Dunaliella) due to the synergistic effect of the surface composition and microstructure.

The study has been published in Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 157, August 2021.

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