Adsorption of a Nonionic Symmetric Triblock Copolymer on Surfaces with Different Hydrophobicity
This study investigates the adsorption of a symmetric triblock nonionic polymer comprising ethylene oxide (EO) and propylene oxide (PO) blocks (Pluronic P-105, EO37PO56EO37) on a range of substrates including hydrophobic, i.e., polypropylene (PP), poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET), nylon, and graphite, and hydrophilic, i.e., cellulose and silica. The adsorption process and the structure of the hydrated adsorbed layers are followed by quartz crystal microgravimetry (QCM), surface plasmon resonance (SPR), and atomic force microscopy. The unhydrated surfaces are characterized by ellipsometry and contact angle techniques. The adsorption kinetics and the extent of adsorption are determined by monitoring the changes in resonance frequency and refractive index of sensors coated with ultrathin films of the various substrates. Langmuirian-type adsorption kinetics is observed in all cases studied. The amount of adsorbed Pluronic on hydrophobic polymer surfaces (PP, PET, and nylon) exceeds that on the hydrophilic cellulose. The hydrophobic (graphite) mineral surface adsorbs relatively low polymer mass, typical of a monolayer, while micellar structures are observed on the hydrophilic silica surface. The amount of water coupled to the adsorbed polymer layers is quantified by combining data from QCM, and SPR are found to increase with increasing polarity of the substrate. On the basis of contact angle data, the nonhydrated adsorbed structures produce modest increases in hydrophilicity of all the substrates investigated. Overall, insights are provided into the structure and stability of both hydrated and nonhydrated adsorbed triblock copolymer.
materials science, multidisciplinary