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Biofouling. 2011;27(10):1139-50. doi: 10.1080/08927014.2011.629344.

Investigation of the role of hydrophilic chain length in amphiphilic perfluoropolyether/poly(ethylene glycol) networks: towards high-performance antifouling coatings.

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Department of Chemistry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 27514, USA.


The facile preparation of amphiphilic network coatings having a hydrophobic dimethacryloxy-functionalized perfluoropolyether (PFPE-DMA; M(w) = 1500 g mol(-1)) crosslinked with hydrophilic monomethacryloxy functionalized poly(ethylene glycol) macromonomers (PEG-MA; M(w) = 300, 475, 1100 g mol(-1)), intended as non-toxic high-performance marine coatings exhibiting antifouling characteristics is demonstrated. The PFPE-DMA was found to be miscible with the PEG-MA. Photo-cured blends of these materials containing 10 wt% of PEG-MA oligomers did not swell significantly in water. PFPE-DMA crosslinked with the highest molecular weight PEG oligomer (ie PEG1100) deterred settlement (attachment) of algal cells and cypris larvae of barnacles compared to a PFPE control coating. Dynamic mechanical analysis of these networks revealed a flexible material. Preferential segregation of the PEG segments at the polymer/air interface resulted in enhanced antifouling performance. The cured amphiphilic PFPE/PEG films showed decreased advancing and receding contact angles with increasing PEG chain length. In particular, the PFPE/PEG1100 network had a much lower advancing contact angle than static contact angle, suggesting that the PEG1100 segments diffuse to the polymer/water interface quickly. The preferential interfacial aggregation of the larger PEG segments enables the coating surface to have a substantially enhanced resistance to settlement of spores of the green seaweed Ulva, cells of the diatom Navicula and cypris larvae of the barnacle Balanus amphitrite as well as low adhesion of sporelings (young plants) of Ulva, adhesion being lower than to a polydimethyl elastomer, Silastic T2.

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