Visualization of the distribution of surface-active block copolymers in PDMS-based coatings

A. Camós Noguer, R. Latipov, F. B. Madsen, A. E. Daugaard, S. Hvilsted, S. M. Olsen, S. Kiil*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS) has been widely employed in the area of fouling-release coatings and other fields due to its unique combination of properties including low elastic modulus and low glass transition temperature. The drawback of PDMS in some applications is its hydrophobic surface, which results in non-specific protein adsorption and wettability issues. Poly(ethylene glycol)-based surface-active block copolymers and surfactants have been added to PDMS coatings and films to impart biofouling resistance and hydrophilicity to the PDMS surface with successful results. Information regarding the distribution and release of these block copolymers from PDMS-based coatings has been previously reported. However, the distribution and behaviour of these compounds in the bulk of the PDMS coating are not fully understood.
A novel fluorescent-labelled triblock PEG-b-PDMS-b-PEG copolymer was synthesized and added to a PDMS coating for visualization purposes. The surface-activity and biofouling resistance of the synthesized copolymer was confirmed by water contact angle measurements and seawater immersion experiments. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) images showed that the triblock copolymer aggregates in spherical domains within the PDMS coating film. The size of these domains vary between 1 and 7 μm, with larger domains being present on the bulk of the film and smaller closer to the surface. The diffusion of the copolymer could be observed over time, with copolymer molecules diffusing from the bulk to the surfaces of the PDMS film. Finally, an overview of the possibilities provided by the presented methodology in the field of fouling-release coatings is discussed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalProgress in Organic Coatings
Pages (from-to)179-189
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • PDMS
  • Silicone
  • Fouling-release coatings
  • Diffusion
  • Block Copolymers


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