Turning the surface properties from highly hydrophobic to highly hydrophilic

New nanomaterials with tunable wettability have been developed by scientists at Swansea University. They show promise to replace more expensive and hazardous materials used for applications ranging from antifouling to waterproofing surfaces.

Turning the surface properties from highly hydrophobic to highly hydrophilic. Source: pixabay.com -

The researchers reported the use of various low-cost and nonhazardous hydrocarbon materials to tune the surface properties of aluminum oxide nanoparticles (NPs) from superhydrophilic to superhydrophobic through covalent functionalisation.

Behaving as surfactants

The hydrocarbon surfaces are compared with a fluorinated surface for wettability and surface energy properties. The role of NPs’ hydrophobicity on their dynamic interfacial behaviour at the oil-water interface and their ability to form stable emulsions is also explored. The spray-coated NPs provide textured surfaces (regardless of functionality), with water contact angles of 10–150° based on their surface functionality. The superhydrophobic NPs are able to reduce the interfacial tension of various oil-water interfaces by behaving as surfactants.

The study is published in: ACS Omega 2017, 2 (6), pp 2507-2514.

Book tip:

The book “Functional coatings” outlines recent developments with the focus on organic-based functional materials. Furthermore it highlights the latest developments of the different technologies and novel surface functions that go beyond decoration, corrosion protection and surface protection

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