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Micropatterned surfaces for atmospheric water condensation via controlled radical polymerization and thin film dewetting


Wong, I and Teo, GH and Neto, C and Thickett, SC, Micropatterned surfaces for atmospheric water condensation via controlled radical polymerization and thin film dewetting, ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces, 7, (38) pp. 21562-21570. ISSN 1944-8244 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 American Chemical Society

DOI: doi:10.1021/acsami.5b06856


Inspired by an example found in nature, the design of patterned surfaces with chemical and topographical contrast for the collection of water from the atmosphere has been of intense interest in recent years. Herein we report the synthesis of such materials via a combination of macromolecular design and polymer thin film dewetting to yield surfaces consisting of raised hydrophilic bumps on a hydrophobic background. RAFT polymerization was used to synthesize poly(2-hydroxypropyl methacrylate) (PHPMA) of targeted molecular weight and low dispersity; spin-coating of PHPMA onto polystyrene films produced stable polymer bilayers under appropriate conditions. Thermal annealing of these bilayers above the glass transition temperature of the PHPMA layer led to complete dewetting of the top layer and the formation of isolated PHPMA domains atop the PS film. Due to the vastly different rates of water nucleation on the two phases, preferential dropwise nucleation of water occurred on the PHPMA domains, as demonstrated by optical microscopy. The simplicity of the preparation method and ability to target polymers of specific molecular weight demonstrate the value of these materials with respect to large-scale water collection devices or other materials science applications where patterning is required.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:water capture, biomimicry, controlled radical polymerization, wettability, dewetting
Research Division:Chemical Sciences
Research Group:Physical chemistry
Research Field:Colloid and surface chemistry
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial systems and management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Teo, GH (Mr Guo Teo)
UTAS Author:Thickett, SC (Associate Professor Stuart Thickett)
ID Code:103278
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:28
Deposited By:Chemistry
Deposited On:2015-10-01
Last Modified:2017-10-24

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