Fluorine-free mixed amphiphilic polymers based on PDMS and PEG side chains for fouling release applications

Fluorine-free mixed amphiphilic block copolymers with mixtures of short side groups of polydimethyl siloxane (PDMS) and polyethylene glycol (PEG) were synthesized and studied for their ability to influence the surface properties and control the adhesion of marine organisms to coated surfaces. The settlement (attachment) and strength of adhesion of two different marine algae, the green seaweed Ulva and the diatom Navicula, were evaluated against the surfaces. It is known that hydrophobic coatings based on polydimethyl siloxane elastomers (PDMSe) are prone to protein adsorption and accumulation of strongly adherent diatom slimes, in contrast to PEG-based hydrophilic surfaces that inhibit protein adsorption and moderate only weak adhesion of diatoms. By incorporating both PDMS and PEG side chains into the polymers, the effect of incorporating both polar and non-polar groups on fouling-release could be studied. The dry surfaces were characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and near-edge X-ray absorption fine structure spectroscopy (NEXAFS). The ability of these mixed amphiphilic polymers to reconstruct in water was examined using underwater bubble contact angle and dynamic water contact angle experiments. To understand more about surface reconstruction behavior, protein adsorption experiments were carried out with fluorescein isothiocyanate-labeled bovine serum albumin (BSA-FITC) on both dry and pre-soaked surfaces.