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Determination of Surface Energy Parameters of Hydrophilic Porous Membranes via a Corrected Contact Angle Approach

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journal contribution
posted on 13.11.2019, 16:06 by Bingjun Han, Xiaomao Wang, Jianzhong Zheng, Shuai Liang, Kang Xiao, Jinlan Yu, Zhi Qian, Xia Huang
While the contact angle is a well-applied indicator of membrane hydrophobicity and surface energy, the interference of surface roughness and porosity in contact angle measurement and surface energy calculation has been long neglected in the field of porous membrane study. We propose an improved method to straightforwardly derive the surface energy of the porous membrane from contact angles with the interference effect corrected. A linearized model was established combining the Young–Dupré and Cassie–Baxter equations, from which the surface energy (Lifshitz–van der Waals and Lewis acid/base components) and roughness index (surface area difference) can be solved simultaneously at a given porosity using contact angles measured with a set of standard polar/nonpolar test liquids. The model solution was examined using hydrophilic microfiltration membranes with different pore morphologies (including perforated plate-like PCTE, irregular particulate bed-like PVDF, and fibrous mesh-like PTFE membranes), with the robustness of the results evaluated via Monte Carlo simulation. In comparison with the verified results of the model solution, it was found that the Lifshitz–van der Waals Lewis acid/base energy values for the tested membranes would deviate by 50–87, 30–160, and 52–97%, respectively, if surface roughness and porosity were neglected in the calculation. The profound effect of roughness and porosity on surface energy determination was further confirmed via theoretical analysis of the Young–Dupré and Cassie–Baxter relationships. This improved approach may apply to the surface energy characterization of hydrophilic rough porous membranes (e.g., hydrophilic microfiltration membranes).