This work demonstrates the feasibility of superhydrophilic polyelectrolyte brush coatings for anti-icing applications. Five different types of ionic and nonionic polymer brush coatings of 25-100 nm thickness were formed on glass substrates using silane chemistry for surface premodification followed by polymerization via the SI-ATRP route. The cationic [2-(methacryloyloxy)ethyl]trimethylammonium chloride] and the anionic [poly(3-sulfopropyl methacrylate), poly(sodium methacrylate)] polyelectrolyte brushes were further exchanged with H(+), Li(+), Na(+), K(+), Ag(+), Ca(2+), La(3+), C16N(+), F(-), Cl(-), BF4(-), SO4(2-), and C12SO3(-) ions. By consecutive measurements of the strength of ice adhesion toward ion-incorporated polymer brushes on glass it was found that Li(+) ions reduce ice adhesion by 40% at -18 °C and 70% at -10 °C. Ag(+) ions reduce ice adhesion by 80% at -10 °C relative to unmodified glass. In general, superhydrophilic polyelectrolyte brushes exhibit better anti-icing property at -10 °C compared to partially hydrophobic brushes such as poly(methyl methacrylate) and surfactant exchanged polyelectrolyte brushes. The data are interpreted using the concept of a quasi liquid layer (QLL) that is enhanced in the presence of highly hydrated ions at the interface. It is suggested that the ability of ions to coordinate water is directly related to the efficiency of a given anti-icing coating based on the polyelectrolyte brush concept.
A C S Applied Materials and Interfaces, 2014, Vol 6, Issue 9, p. 6487-6496