NC State
Chang, H., Tu, K., Wang, X., and Liu, J. (2015). "Facile preparation of stable superhydrophobic coatings on wood surfaces using silica-polymer nanocomposites," BioRes. 10(2), 2585-2596.


Superhydrophobic organic-inorganic composite nanocoatings were fabricated on the intrinsically heterogeneous surfaces of wood using silica-polymer hybrid materials, which were prepared through sol-gel chemistry using tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) as an inorganic precursor and hexadecyltrimethoxysilane (HDTMS) as an organic modifier. The long-chain HDTMS acts not only as a hydrophobic agent to lower the surface free energy of the silica particles but also as a bonding agent to aggregate the nanoparticles by polymerization. The degree of aggregation of the silica particles in the coating can be controlled by adjusting the initial concentration of HDTMS, and hence the surface morphology and roughness of the coated wood are tuned. When the concentration of HDTMS reaches a critical level, the formed aggregates of silica particles in combination with the inherent microscale roughness of wood appear to create hierarchical micro/nanostructures on the wood substrate, allowing for the generation of superhydrophobicity. The silica-polymer hybrid coatings on the wood surface are robust enough to withstand high humidity as well as strong acid and alkali whilst retaining its superhydrophobicity. The coatings also exhibit satisfactory durability against water leaching without significantly changing its hydrophobicity, highlighting their potential for outdoor applications.
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