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Instant Tuning of Superhydrophilic to Robust Superhydrophobic and Self-Cleaning Metallic Coating: Simple, Direct, One-Step, and Scalable Technique


We present a simple, direct, one-step, scalable technique for instant tuning of all the different states of wetting characteristics using atmospheric plasma spray (APS) technique. We observed that, just by changing the process parameters in the APS technique, the wetting characteristics of an intrinsically hydrophilic aluminum metallic surface can be tuned to superhydrophilic (contact angle (CA): 0°), hydrophilic (CA: 19.6°), hydrophobic (CA: 97.6°), and superhydrophobic (CA: 156.5°) surfaces. Also, tuned superhydrophobic surface showed an excellent self-cleaning property. Further, we demonstrated that these surfaces retain their superhydrophobic nature even after exposure at elevated temperatures (up to 773 K) and on application of mechanical abrasion. Manipulation in different wetting behavior was possible mainly due to the presence of varying degrees of smooth surface as well as micropillars, which incorporated the multiscale roughness to the surface. “Re-entrant”-like microstructures such as mushroom, cauliflower, and cornet microstructures were observed in the case of tuned superhydrophobic surface, which is well-known for achieving the excellent water repellency over the hydrophilic surface.

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b19045