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Perfluoropolyether-Impregnated Mesoporous Alumina Composites Overcome the Dewetting–Tribological Properties Trade-Off

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journal contribution
posted on 26.02.2018, 00:00 by Sriharitha Rowthu, Patrik Hoffmann
Conventional omniphobic surfaces suffer from wear-sensitivity due to soft apolar coatings or substrates and protruding surface features that are eroded even for mild abrasion treatments, leading to the loss of dewetting properties after wear. Evidently, there was a trade-off between dewetting and tribological properties. Here, we show the establishment of self-healing slippery properties post severe abrasion by utilizing perfluoropolyether-impregnated mesoporous Al2O3 (MPA) composites. The hard polar alumina matrix provides the optimal tribological properties, and the liquid lubricant in the porous network contributes to both tribological and self-healing dewetting properties. These composites sustained normal pressures up to 350 MPa during reciprocating sliding contacts. The severely abraded surfaces are capable of self-replenishing in ambient environment, driven by capillarity and surface diffusion processes, and regained their slippery properties toward water and hexadecane after 15 h of self-healing. Eventually, a dewetting-tribology diagram has been introduced to show different regimes, namelyoptimal slippery properties, optimal tribological properties, and a mixed regime). We found out that the microstructural expression (open porositytotal porosity×surface roughnessgrain diameter)MPA is a robust guiding tool to predict the regime of interest. This dewetting-tribological diagram may be marked as an inception to designing abrasion-resistant slippery liquid impregnated composites for overcoming the dewetting tribological properties trade-off. Such surfaces may potentially find applications in paint industries and as anti-icing surfaces.