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Hybrid silica coatings on polycarbonate: enhanced properties


Hybrid silica coatings based on 3- glycidoxypropyltriethoxysilane (GPTES), tetraethylorthosilicate (TEOS) and colloidal silica were deposited on polycarbonate (PC) by the sol–gel method, in order to obtain a material with enhanced properties with respect to raw PC (mainly scratch resistance, hydrophobicity and density), and consequently reach increased durability. The necessity of performing a N2-plasma treatment on PC (before coating deposition) was highlighted in order to obtain a good adherence between the coating and the substrate: XPS measurements showed that after treatment, nitrogenous radicals had formed on the PC surface and were able to link covalently with the sol during its deposition. Adherence was also higher when young sols (<8-day-old) were used. Different alkoxysilanes/colloidal silica ratios were tested to optimize the coating resistance: crack resistance of the coatings was found to be greater when the ratio was high. Scratch resistance of raw PC was enhanced as soon as PC was coated, irrespective of the alkoxysilanes/colloidal silica ratio or the sol ageing time. The density of the coatings was assessed by environmental ellipsometric porosimetry and found to be very high. Water contact angle measurements showed that the hydrophobicity of the coatings was inferior to raw PC. The addition in the sol of a small wt% of octyltriethoxysilane (OTES), 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorooctyltriethoxysilane (FTES) and silicone surface additive (BYK-306) allowed a significant increase in hydrophobicity of the samples.

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We would like to thank AcXys Technologies society for giving the N2-plasma treatment on the PC substrates.

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Correspondence to Bérangère Toury.

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Lionti, K., Toury, B., Boissière, C. et al. Hybrid silica coatings on polycarbonate: enhanced properties. J Sol-Gel Sci Technol 65, 52–60 (2013).

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  • Sol–gel
  • Coating
  • Polycarbonate
  • Adherence
  • Hydrophobicity
  • Density