Scale formation presents an enormous cost to the global economy. Classical nucleation theory dictates that to reduce the heterogeneous nucleation of scale, the surface should have low surface energy and be as smooth as possible. Past approaches have focused on lowering surface energy via the use of hydrophobic coatings and have created atomically smooth interfaces to eliminate nucleation sites, or both, via the infusion of low-surface-energy lubricants into rough superhydrophobic substrates. Although lubricant-based surfaces are promising candidates for antiscaling, lubricant drainage inhibits their utilization. Here, we develop methodologies to deposit slippery omniphobic covalently attached liquids (SOCAL) on arbitrary substrates. Similar to lubricant-based surfaces, SOCAL has ultralow roughness and surface energy, enabling low nucleation rates and eliminating the need to replenish the lubricant. To enable SOCAL coating on metals, we investigated the surface chemistry required to ensure high-quality functionalization as measured by ultralow contact angle hysteresis (<3°). Using a multilayer deposition approach, we first electrophoretically deposit (EPD) silicon dioxide (SiO2) as an intermediate layer between the metallic substrate and SOCAL. The necessity of EPD SiO2 is to smooth (<10 nm roughness) as well as to enable the proper surface chemistry for SOCAL bonding. To characterize antiscaling performance, we utilized calcium sulfate (CaSO4) scale tests, showing a 20× reduction in scale deposition rate than untreated metallic substrates. Descaling tests revealed that SOCAL dramatically decreases scale adhesion, resulting in rapid removal of scale buildup. Our work not only demonstrates a robust methodology for depositing antiscaling SOCAL coatings on metals but also develops design guidelines for the creation of antifouling coatings for alternate applications such as biofouling and high-temperature coking.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)