Amphiphiles (i.e. amphiphilic molecules such as surfactants, block copolymers and similar compounds) are used in small amounts to modify the surface properties of polymeric materials. In silicone fouling-release coatings, PEG-based amphiphiles are added to provide biofouling-resistance. The success of this approach relies on the ability of the amphiphiles to diffuse through the coating film and cover the surface of the coating. A novel method for the measurement of diffusion coefficients of PEG-based amphiphiles of different chemistries in PDMS-based coatings is presented here. The diffusion coefficient of the amphiphiles shows a weak dependency on their molecular weight, although this dependency is much less pronounced than for other rubbery polymeric materials. The biofouling-resistance properties in fouling-release coatings were also studied for these amphiphiles. It was found that the diffusion coefficient does not have any influence on the biofouling-resistance results for the studied compounds. Instead, the chemistry of the hydrophobic block of the amphiphiles is much more significant, with PEG-PDMS block copolymers showing the best properties among the studied compounds.
- Block copolymers
- Fouling-release coatings