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PREPARATION AND CHARACTERIZATION OF SUPERHYDROPHILIC SILICA COATINGS AND THEIR APPLICATION AS ANTIFOGGING GLASS

R.Wijesenaa* , N. Tisserab, R. Pererab, L. Karunanayakab , A. De. Alwisc Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology(Pvt) Ltd, Sri Lanka, c University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka a SLINTEC (Pvt) Limited, Lot 14, Zone 1, Biyagama EPZ, Walgama, Malwana, Sri Lanka ruchiraW@slintec.lk Keywords: superhydrophillic, antifogging, thin film coatings, sol-gel
ab

ABSTRACT
report the fabrication of antifogging glass coatings using simple sol-gel based procedure. The coating was applied to the glass by using dip coating method followed by firing in a furnace to improve the mechanical properties. For the morphological characterization of thin films, both Atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used. It could be observed in AFM that thin film is mainly consist of nanoparticles while SEM observation suggest that porous coating was developed on the glass surface. Transmission spectra were recorded for the coated glass using UV-Vis spectrophotometer, which suggested the near 100% transmission at visible light range. A weak antireflective property was also observed in the glass samples treated with silica coating. Both these observations provide the evidence that coating hasnt significantly modified the optical properties of the glass but imparted an antifogging property with weak anti reflective property

INTRODUCTION
Superhydrophillic and superhydrophobic coatings has been subjected to great interest due to their potential applications in many different industries. Unlike normal surfaces, these surfaces exhibit extreme wetting characteristics, when in contact with water [1]. Application of superhyrophilic coatings on glass surfaces can produce very low contact angles that will effectively increase the spreading of water droplets, resulting antifogging effect [2]. But in the case of normal glass, contact angle is higher than that of the coated glass and droplet equilibrate in a much larger angle resulting in lower spreading. The negative effects of fogging on glasses and mirrors are well known. Fogging is due to condensation of water vapor on these surfaces, forming large number of small water droplets. These localized water droplets can scatter, reflect and refract light in all directions rendering the transmission of light waves through the glass distorted. As a result, visual clarity of these devices is significantly impaired. Especially for applications like window glasses, automobile glasses, sun-glasses and for optical lenses etc, minimization of fogging is of high importance. Among many materials reported in literature on antifogging coatings, both TiO 2 and SiO2 coatings were given high importance. But its very well known that the

superhydrophilicity of TiO2 is highly UV dependent. Its believed that upon UV irradiation, surface hydroxyl groups increase dramatically, possibly due to photocatalytic reaction with water vapor in the atmosphere[3]. Once the UV irradiation is removed its superhydrophobic property tends to decease with time. This is the fundamental limitation of antifogging coatings based on TiO 2, limiting its application mainly for outdoor coatings. On the other hand SiO 2 has large number of hydroxyl groups on its surface and can be used with our without surface modification as antifogging coatings. The main advantage of SiO2 based antifogging coatings is its versatility and possibility to use even in indoor applications.

MATERIALS AND METHODS


Tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) was used as the SiO 2 precursor and was purchased from Sigma Aldrich (Singapoor). Ammonia solution (NH3OH, 28%), ethanol was also purchased from Sigma Aldrich and was used without further purification. Coating was prepared on top of microscopic glass slides (Sail Brand, China) were used for coating preparation after cleaning. In a typical cleaning process, glass slides were ultrasonicated for 15 min in ethanol and then gently dried with a dry nitrogen purge. For the fabrication of thin films was done by dip coating method where pre-cleaned glass slides were dipped in silica sol and withdrawal rate of 3 mm/s was maintained. Then the slides were dried at 80oC for 15 min followed by firing at 300oC in a furnace. Finally the glass was treated inside UV C light box to induce superhydrophillicity for 30 min. Morphological characterization of silica coatings was done using Atomic Force Microscope (AFM) using Park Systems, XE-100 microscope. Imaging was carried out using non contact mode cantilever, having a tip radius less than 10nm operating at a frequency of 0.5Hz. The microstructures of the silica coatings were characterized using field emission scanning electron microscope (SEM) Hitachi SU6600 Analytical Variable Pressure FE-SEM. For antifogging characterization, half coated glass slide was placed on top of a beaker containing hot water. Transmission spectra of coated glass were recorded using Shimadzu UV-VIS-NIR UV-3600 spectrophotometer using quartz cuvettes for the spectrum range of 250 nm to 800 nm. Wetting behavior of thin films was characterized using homemade setup, where glass slide was wetted using a 20 l water droplet.

CONCLUSION
In conclusion, a simple procedure to produce superhydrophilic glass surfaces was introduced. The glasses prepared using this procedure showed good antifogging property with slight antireflective property. We could conclude with the data obtained, this superhydrophilicity is due to combined effect of porous thin film development on the glass surface and hydrophilic hydroxyl groups on the surface.

REFERENCES
[1] Wu,S. Experimental methods for contact angles and interfacial tension, M. Dekker (Ed.), Polymer Interface and Adhesion, New York, pp. 266273(1982). [2] F.C. Cebeci, Z.Z. Wu, L. Zhai, R.E. Cohen, M.F. Rubner, Nanoporosity-driven superhydrophilicity: a means to create multifunctional antifogging coatings, Langmuir 22 (2006) 28562862. [3]X.T. Zhang, O. Sato, M. Taguchi, Y. Einaga, T. Murakami, A. Fujishima, Self cleaning particle coating with antireflection properties, Chemistryt of Materials 17 (2005) 696700