Investigation into the photo-induced change in wettability of hydrophobized TiO2
G. Risse, S. Matys, and H. Böttcher
Applied Surface Science 254, 5994-6001 (2008)
The photo-induced change in wettability of hydrophobized TiO2 films has been investigated for steel coated with acidic TiO2 nanosols containing varying concentrations of dispersed nanocrystalline titania, such as Degussa P25. The photo-induced change in wettability was evaluated by measuring the time-dependent drop of water contact angle (WCA) after samples had been soaked in either n-octyltriethoxysilane (OTS) or decanoic acid (DA). TiO2 films treated in this way exhibit superhydrophobic behaviour, with WCA greater than 160. After radiation with UV (black light), the superhydrophobic properties are transformed into superhydrophilic properties, with WCA of almost 0. As P25 content and layer thickness increase, high rates of photo-induced change are found, but a moderate calcination regime is required. On the other hand, hardness and E modulus pass through a maximum at 25 wt% P25, so that a P25 content between 25 and 50 wt% is the optimum for practical uses. With such stable coatings, wettability can be controlled over a wide range, and the switch between hydrophobic and hydrophilic states can be carried out repeatedly when DA is used as the hydrophobizing agent. Use of a low calcination temperature (450¡C) for the intermediate annealing of the single layers in multilayer coatings and a short final sintering step at a relatively high temperature (e.g. 630¡C for 10 min) allow the preparation of relatively thin TiO2 films on steel with a high photoactivity.