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Nonaligned Carbon Nanotubes Partially Embedded in Polymer Matrixes: A Novel Route to Superhydrophobic Conductive Surfaces

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posted on 17.08.2010, 00:00 authored by Mao Peng, Zhangjie Liao, Ji Qi, Zhi Zhou
A new method for transforming common polymers into superhydrophobic conductive surfaces, with both a high static water contact angle (∼160°) and a low sliding angle (2.0°−4.5°), and a low sheet resistance on the order of 101−103 Ω/sq is presented. A layer of multiwalled carbon nanotubes (MWNTs) is first distributed on the surface of a polymer substrate, then by a single step of pressing, the MWNTs are partially embedded inside the substrate surface and form a superhydrophobic coating with a “carpet-” or “hair”-like morphology. The infiltration of polymer melts into the porous MWNT layer follows Darcy’s law, and the pressing time greatly influence the morphology and superhydrophobicity. Moreover, the coating can be electrically heated by 20−70 °C with a voltage as low as 4−8 V at an electric energy density below 1.6 J/cm2 and therefore can be used for deicing applications. Hydroxylation and fluoroalkylsilane treatment can greatly improve the stability of the superhydrophobicity of MWNTs. This method is convenient and applicable to a variety of thermoplastic polymers and nonpolymer substrates coated by silicone rubber.