Epoxy-silica/clay nanocomposite for silver-based antibacterial thin coatings: structure and ionic mobility


A novel material was developed using sol-gel chemistry and an environmental-friendly grafting process of clay nanoparticles. In a previous work of our group, highly compact coatings had been generated using silicon alkoxides, as tetraethoxysilane (TEOS) and 3-glycidoxypropyl-trimethoxysilane (GPTMS), with the incorporation of silver ions and synthetic smectite-type clay nanoparticles, demonstrating antibacterial behaviour against Escherichia coli cultures. By controlling the loading, the exfoliation and the grafting processes of the clay nanoparticles, it was possible to control the migration kinetics of silver ions from the coating matrix to the surface. Morphological and structural studies, through SEM-FIB, revealed the effect of clay nanoparticles leading to the development of a homogeneous structure in 2-μm thickness coatings. Grazing incidence small angle X-ray scattering (GISAXS) experiments demonstrated that silver is distributed in a strongly anisotropic arrangement when clay nanosheets are absent. The size of the silver particles developed on the surface is rather different from that of those developed in the bulk of the coating. Scattering patterns also revealed that the incorporation of clay nanosheets promotes the development of less anisotropic structures. Electrochemical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) measurements confirmed the integrity of the material and the applicability of a physical model with normal distribution of resistive and capacitive elements.

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Mr. Martin Lere (CONICET, Argentina) is acknowledged by the technical support. Dr. Antonio Gasperini (CNPEM, Brazil) and Dr. Silvia Ceré (CONICET-UNMdP) are greatly acknowledged for their helpful assistances with GISAXS and electrochemical interpretation respectively. Finally, the authors express their appreciation to Dr. Marcela Vázquez (CONICET-UNMdP) for providing assistance with the English grammar of the manuscript.


Authors want to acknowledge the Argentine National Council of Scientific and Technical Research (CONICET, PIP 2014-0175), the ANPCyT (PICTs 2017-3762 and 2017-1594) and to the National Synchrotron Light Laboratory (LNLS, Brazil; Project 6780/10—Proposal 20160216) for financial supports.

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Correspondence to Raúl Procaccini.

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Mejía, H.F.G., Jiménez-Piqué, E., Valdés, M. et al. Epoxy-silica/clay nanocomposite for silver-based antibacterial thin coatings: structure and ionic mobility. J Solid State Electrochem 24, 2451–2460 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10008-020-04784-y

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  • Sol-gel
  • Silanization
  • Ionic mobility
  • EIS