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Wettability Conversion from Superoleophobic to Superhydrophilic on Titania/Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Composite Coatings

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posted on 02.08.2011, 00:00 by Min Zhang, Tao Zhang, Tianhong Cui
Superoleophobic surfaces were demonstrated on perfluorosilane-rendered titania (TiO2)/single-walled carbon nanotube (SWNT) composite coatings. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) observations revealed that SWNTs play a key role in the formation of overhanging structures and the nanoscale roughness on the coating surface, which compose the two critical morphologic factors for a superoleophobic surface. The wettability conversion from superoleophobic to superhydrophilic of the composite coatings was realized by the gradual decomposition of 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorodecyltrichlorosilane (FDTS) on the coating surface using UV irradiation. Contact angle measurement on both smooth TiO2 surface and rough composite coating surface under different UV irradiation time revealed that the wetting behavior of the liquids on the composite coating surface passes from the Cassie to the Wenzel and finally to the inversed-Cassie regime. Different liquids show different irradiation time for the wetting state change. By controlling the UV irradiation dose, liquids with surface tension difference smaller than 5 mN/m can exist in completely converse wetting states on the same coating surface, that is, superphobic for one liquid while superphilic for another with lower surface tension. Mixed organic liquids with different surface tension can be completely separated through a coated grid using this wettability tuning technique.