Porosity-induced mechanically robust superhydrophobicity by the sintering and silanization of hydrophilic porous diatomaceous earth
Journal of Colloid and Interface Science
Hypothesis: Because they have self-similar low-surface-energy microstructures throughout the whole material block, fabricating superhydrophobic monoliths has been currently a promising remedy for the mechanical robustness of non-wetting properties. Noticeably, porous materials have microstructured interfaces throughout the complete volume, and silanization can make surfaces low-surface-energy. Therefore, the porous structure and surface silane-treatment can be combined to render hydrophilic inorganics into mechanically durable superhydrophobic monoliths. Experiments: Superhydrophobic diatomaceous earth pellets were produced by thermal-sintering, followed by a silanization process with octyltriethoxysilane. The durability of superhydrophobicity was evaluated by changes in wetting properties, surface morphology, and chemistry after a systematic abrasion sliding test. Findings: The intrinsic porosity of diatomite facilitated surface silanization throughout the whole sintered pellet, thus producing the water-repelling monolith. The abrasion sliding converted multimodal porosity of the volume to hierarchical roughness of the surface comprised of silanized particles, thereby attaining superhydrophobic properties of high contact angles over 150° and sliding angles below 20°. The tribological properties revealed useful information about the superhydrophobicity duration of the non-wetting monolith against friction. The result enables the application of porous structures in the fabrication of the anti-abrasion superhydrophobic materials even though they are originally hydrophilic.
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Australian Research Council