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Fluoroalkyl-Functionalized Silica Particles: Synthesis, Characterization, and Wetting Characteristics

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posted on 16.08.2011, 00:00 by Raymond Campos, Andrew J. Guenthner, Timothy S. Haddad, Joseph M. Mabry
Fluoroalkyl-functionalized silica particles for use in nonwetting surfaces were prepared by treatment of silica particles with fluoroalkyl-functional chlorosilanes. Both fumed and precipitated silica were studied, as well as the efficiency of surface coverage using mono-, di-, and trifunctional chlorosilanes. The most effective surface treatment was accomplished via the surface grafting of monofunctional chlorosilanes in the presence of preadsorbed dimethylamine under anhydrous conditions at room temperature. Confirmation of covalent attachment was accomplished via Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy, while elemental analysis, thermogravimetric analysis, and nitrogen adsorption isotherms were used to determine grafting densities and additional key geometric characteristics of the grafted layer. The effect of residual silanol content on the moisture uptake properties of the modified silica particles was determined by measuring the water uptake of unbound particles, while liquid wetting properties were determined by dynamic contact angle analysis of elastomeric composites. Although residual silanol content was shown to effect wetting properties, results suggest that surface geometry dominates the performance of liquid-repellent surfaces. The potential use of fluoroalkyl-functionalized silica particles for hydrophobic and oleophobic applications is discussed.