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Superhydrophobic durable coating based on UV-photoreactive silica nanoparticles



Superhydrophobic surfaces can be obtained by tailoring both the chemistry and roughness topography, mimicking the Lotus leaf characteristics. Most of the synthetic superhydrophobic surfaces reported have been composed of micro and nanoparticles (NPs) embedded in polymer-based coatings. The particles which tailor the topography are bonded to the base polymers by weak secondary forces. Consequently, the topography integrity is highly affected by handling and surface drag making them unsuitable for long term applications. This work is focused on promoting covalent bonding between the NPs and the base polymer to obtain durable superhydrophobic surfaces. The rough topography was achieved by ultraviolet (UV) curing of SiO2 NPs containing a photoreactive benzophenone moiety in addition to methylated fumed silica NPs which can bind covalently to the polymer base coating, on UV radiation. The hydrophobic chemistry was obtained by fluoroalkylsilane top coating. Coating durability was evaluated using surface air drag and accelerated weathering conditions (UV radiation, humidity and temperature). Results indicated that the proposed approach resulted in superhydrophobic surfaces having high contact angle (>150°) and low sliding angle (<10°) with improved long term durability. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Appl. Polym. Sci. 2014, 131, 41122.