Facile Preparation of Hydrophobic PET Surfaces by Solvent Induced Crystallization

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In this work, Polyethylene terephthalate (PET), one of the most widely consumed polymers, has been used as starting material for the development of non-stick surfaces through a fast, simple and scalable method based on solvent-induced crystallization to generate roughness, followed by a fluorination step. Several solvents were tested, among which dichloromethane was chosen because it gives rise to the formation of a particulate layer with rough topography. This particulate layer was covered by a polymer thin and smooth skin that must be removed to leave the rough layer as surface. The skin has been successfully removed by two strategies based on mechanical and chemical removal, each strategy producing different surface properties. A final treatment with a diluted solution of a fluorinated silane showed that it is possible to obtain PET surfaces with a water contact angle higher than 150° and low water adhesion. The reason behind this behavior is the development of a hierarchical rough profile during the induced polymer crystallization process. These surfaces were characterized by XRD, FTIR and DSC to monitor solvent induced crystallization. Topography was studied by SEM and optical profilometry. Wetting behavior was studied by measuring the contact angles and hysteresis.