American Chemical Society
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Polydimethylsiloxane-Based Superhydrophobic Surfaces on Steel Substrate: Fabrication, Reversibly Extreme Wettability and Oil–Water Separation

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posted on 2016-12-29, 00:00 authored by Xiaojing Su, Hongqiang Li, Xuejun Lai, Lin Zhang, Tao Liang, Yuchun Feng, Xingrong Zeng
Functional surfaces for reversibly switchable wettability and oil–water separation have attracted much interest with pushing forward an immense influence on fundamental research and industrial application in recent years. This article proposed a facile method to fabricate superhydrophobic surfaces on steel substrates via electroless replacement deposition of copper sulfate (CuSO4) and UV curing of vinyl-terminated polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). PDMS-based superhydrophobic surfaces exhibited water contact angle (WCA) close to 160° and water sliding angle (WSA) lower than 5°, preserving outstanding chemical stability that maintained superhydrophobicity immersing in different aqueous solutions with pH values from 1 to 13 for 12 h. Interestingly, the superhydrophobic surface could dramatically switch to the superhydrophilic state under UV irradiation and then gradually recover to the highly hydrophobic state with WCA at 140° after dark storage. The underlying mechanism was also investigated by scanning electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Additionally, the PDMS-based steel mesh possessed high separation efficiency and excellent reusability in oil–water separation. Our studies provide a simple, fast, and economical fabrication method for wettability-transformable superhydrophobic surfaces and have the potential applications in microfluidics, the biomedical field, and oil spill cleanup.