Development of Non-toxic Anti-fouling Coatings Based Upon Nanoscopic Surface Complexities: Enhancing amphiphilic heterogeneities and dynamic performance while improving longevity and sustainability
- View All
Abstract: The objectives include the preparation and analysis of non-toxic polymer coatings that exhibit anti-biofouling characteristics. These polymer coatings are unique, as they are comprised of nanoscopically-resolved morphological and topographical surface domains. A key objective is the determination of the role of those complex surface features on the prevention of protein adsorption and on the limitation of settlement and adhesion by marine organisms. The specific technical approach involves the preparation, evaluation, and optimization of coating materials and includes the following detailed efforts: (1) incorporation of fluoro-, siloxy- and (ethylene oxy)-polymer components into ternary anti-fouling coatings while maintaining chemical processing simplicity; (2) incorporation of mechanical reinforcements by relying on the versatile modularity of a well-developed, efficient chemical approach; (3) development of a general strategy for incorporation of electrostatically-charged hydrophilic functionalities that provide for healability and enhanced anti-fouling; (4) investigation of new approaches for liquid crystallinedriven, dynamic reorganization-based anti-fouling mechanisms; (5) extension of the materials design concepts to components that are sustainable; (6) rigorous physicochemical characterization of surface properties and biological evaluation of performance. Work during the fiscal year 2014 led to 1 manuscript submitted for publication, 5 manuscripts in preparation, and 23 presentations that acknowledged the ONR grant support. In addition, a materials transfer agreement was negotiated with AkzoNobel for their evaluation of ternary anti-fouling coatings formulations developed under this ONR support. The merits of this work include the development of unique synthetic methodologies for the production of novel non-toxic antibiofouling polymer coatings of relevance to U.S. Navy needs, while advancing physical characterization techniques and expanding the fundamental concepts by which materials can be designed to exhibit anti-biofouling characteristics. In this one-year extension, work is expected to advance toward the long-term goals of gaining an improved mechanistic understanding of the biofouling performance of the ternary HBFP-PEG-PDMS coatings, scaled-up production of the reinforced and/or healable zwitterionic ternary materials or dynamic liquid crystalline-driven reorganization events to provide for better long-term stability and performance, and extension of these design principles to analogs derived from natural products to further enhance the sustainability and limit the environmental footprint of these coatings technologies.