Developing polyimide-copper antifouling coatings

Researchers at Ningbo Institute of Materials Technology and Engineering have developed polyimide-copper antifouling coatings with capsule structures for a sustainable release of copper biocides. The results were remarkable.

Developing polyimide-copper antifouling coatings. Source: -

Polyimide-copper layers consisting of individual capsule-like splats were one-step fabricated by solution precursor flame spray through controlling the reaction between dianhydride and diamine dissolved in copper nanoparticles-containing dimethylformamide solvent.

Unique dispersion of nanoparticles

The polyimide splat exhibited hollow structure with an inner pore of 10-15 μm and a tiny hole of 1-5 μm on its top surface. Transversal cut by focused ion beam milling of the individual splats and scanning electron microscopy characterisation further revealed unique dispersion of the copper nanoparticles inside the polyimide shell. After 1000 h exposure to the testing synthetic seawater, continuous release of copper from the coatings containing up to 30 wt% Cu kept remarkable.

Excellent antifouling performance

Antifouling performances of the constructed layers were assessed by examining colonisation behaviours of typical bacteria Bacillus sp. and marine algae Phaeodactylum tricornutum and Chlorella on their surfaces. Distribution of the inorganic nanoparticles endows the polyimide coatings with special capsule structure and exciting hydrophobicity and antifouling performances. The liquid flame spray route and the encapsulated structure of the polyimide-Cu coatings would open a new window for designing and constructing environment-friendly marine antifouling layers for long-term applications.

The study is published in: Materials & Design, Volume 130, 15 September 2017, Pages 285-293

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