On the limit of superhydrophobicity: defining the minimum amount of TiO2 nanoparticle coating

Janne Haapanen, Mikko Aromaa, Hannu Teisala, Paxton Juuti, Mikko Tuominen, Markus Sillanpää, Milena Stepien, Jarkko J Saarinen, Martti Toivakka, Jurkka Kuusipalo, Jyrki M Mäkelä

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Fabrication of superhydrophobic surfaces in large scale has been in high interest for several years, also titanium oxide nanostructures having been applied for the purpose. Optimizing the amount and structure of the TiO2 material in the coating will play a key role when considering upscaling. Here, we take a look at fabricating the superhydrophobic surface in a one-step roll-to-roll pilot scale process by depositing TiO2 nanoparticles from a Liquid Flame Spray onto a moving paperboard substrate. In order to find the minimum amount of nanomaterial still sufficient for creating superhydrophobicity, we varied nanoparticle production rate, flame distance from the substrate and line speed. Since the deposited amount of material sideways from the flame path was seen to decrease gradually, spatial analysis enabled us to consistently determine the minimum amount of TiO2 nanoparticles on the substrate needed to achieve superhydrophobicity. Amount as low as 20-30 mg m(-2) of TiO2 nanoparticles was observed to be sufficient. The scanning electron microscopy revealed that at this amount, the surface was covered with nanoparticles only partially, but still sufficiently to create a hierarchical structure to affect wetting significantly. Based on XPS analysis, it became apparent that TiO2 gathers hydrocarbons on the surface to develop the surface chemistry towards hydrophobic, but below the critical amount of TiO2 nanoparticles, the chemistry could not enable superhydrophobicity anymore. While varying the deposited amount of TiO2, besides the local spatial variance of the coating amount, also the overall yield was studied. Within the text matrix, a yield up to 44% was achieved. In conclusion, superhydrophobicity was achieved at all tested line speeds (50 to 300 m min(-1)), even if the amount of TiO2 varied significantly (20 to 230 mg m(-2)).
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)
Number of pages11
JournalMaterials Research Express
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Wetting
  • Superhydrophobic
  • Nanocoatings
  • Titanium dioxide

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