J. Mater. Sci. Technol. ›› 2021, Vol. 66: 213-225.DOI: 10.1016/j.jmst.2020.06.029

• Research Article • Previous Articles    

A non-fluorinated mechanochemically robust volumetric superhydrophobic nanocomposite

E. Vazirinasab*(), G. Momen, R. Jafari   

  1. Department of Applied Sciences, University of Québec in Chicoutimi (UQAC), 555, boul. de l’université, Chicoutimi, Québec, G7H 2B1, Canada
  • Received:2020-04-05 Revised:2020-06-03 Accepted:2020-06-15 Published:2021-03-10 Online:2021-04-01
  • Contact: E. Vazirinasab
  • About author:* E-mail address: elham.vazirinasab1@uqac.ca (E. Vazirinasab).


The widespread use of water-repellent superhydrophobic surfaces is limited by the inherent fragility of their micro- and nanoscale roughness, which is prone to damage and degradation. Here, we report a non-fluorinated volumetric superhydrophobic nanocomposites that demonstrate mechanochemical robustness. The nanocomposites are produced through the addition of microscale diatomaceous earth and nanoscale fumed silica particles to high-temperature vulcanized silicone rubber. The water-repellency of the surface and bulk of nanocomposites having 120 phr of filler was determined based on the water contact angle and contact angle hysteresis. We compared the water-repellency of nanocomposites of differing diatomaceous earth to fumed silica mass ratios. Increasing the amount of diatomaceous earth enhanced the water-repellency of the nanocomposite surface, whereas an increased amount of fumed silica improved the water-repellency of the bulk material. Moreover, increasing the diatomaceous earth/fumed silica mass ratio improved the cross-linking density and hardness values of the nanocomposite. Despite being subjected to a range of mechanical durability tests, including sandpaper abrasion, knife scratching, tape peeling, water jet impact, and sandblasting, the nanocomposite maintained a water contact angle of 163° and contact angle hysteresis of 2°. When the water-repellency of the prepared nanocomposites eventually deteriorated, we restored their superhydrophobicity by removing the upper surface of the nanocomposite. This extraordinary robustness stems from the embedded low surface energy micro/nanostructures distributed throughout the nanocomposite. We also demonstrated the chemical stability, UV resistance, and self-cleaning abilities of the nanocomposite to illustrate the potential for real-life applications of this material.

Key words: Volumetric superhydrophobic, Nanocomposite, Diatomaceous earth, Hierarchical micro/nanostructure, Mechanical robustness, Chemical stability, Self-cleaning