Development of the solid surfaces with water-repellent and self-cleaning ability has attracted much research interest in recent years. In the present research work, we have prepared water repellent silica coatings on glass at room temperature (~27 °C) by sol gel process and surface silylation technique. Coating sol was prepared by keeping the molar ratio of tetramethoxysilane (TMOS), methanol (MeOH) and water (H2O) constant at 1:12.36:4.25, respectively, with 0.01 M NH4F. The dip coated silica films were surface silylated using two different silylating agents namely hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDSO) and hexamethyldisilazane (HMDZ). The HMDSO and HMDZ in hexane solvent were varied from 0 to 1 vol.% and silylation period was varied from 1 to 3 h. The HMDSO and HMDZ modified films showed dense and porous surface morphology, respectively. The HMDSO modified silica films showed static water contact angle of 122° whereas HMDZ modified films showed 165°. The HMDZ modified films displayed the extreme water repellency comparing with that of lotus leaves. The silica films were characterized by surface profilometer, scanning electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared microscopy, thermal and chemical aging tests, optical transmission and static water contact angle measurements.
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One of the authors Sanjay S. Latthe is grateful to Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi, Government of India, for providing financial support through Senior Research Fellowship (SRF). The authors are grateful to the Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences (BRNS), Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Mumbai, Government of India, for the financial support for this work through a major research project on “Aerogels” (No.2008/37/47/BRNS).