Thermoregeneration of Plastrons on Superhydrophobic Coatings for Sustained Antifouling Properties

Simovich, T. and Rosenhahn, A. and Lamb, R.N.

Volume: 22 Pages:
DOI: 10.1002/adem.201900806
Published: 2020

A popular and desirable function of superhydrophobic coatings is their remarkable ability to retain an entrapped layer of air, called a plastron, when submerged underwater. The drawback is that the air layer is short-lived due to solvation into the surrounding liquid. While manipulating the solubility of gases using temperature is a possible approach, it generally requires inefficiently heating large volumes of water. Following the demonstrated ability to maintain air bubbles on superhydrophobic surfaces for drag reduction, this article introduces a novel method of extracting gas from water to replenish and stabilize the plastron on superhydrophobic surfaces for sustained antifouling abilities. This method involves locally heating the liquid surrounding a superhydrophobic coating, reducing gas solubility, and causing the gas to nucleate at the liquid–air interface. The approach requires a relatively low energy input, due to the small volume of locally heated water. With a constant supply of equilibrated water and minimal energy input, the plastron can survive indefinitely without the need for a mechanical delivery of air. The thermoregenerating superhydrophobic samples were shown to exhibit excellent antifouling behavior and inhibited diatom attachment over a period of 5 days. © 2019 The Authors. Published by WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim

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