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Creators/Authors contains: "Miljkovic, Nenad"

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 15, 2024
  3. Abstract

    Seventy percent of global electricity is generated by steam-cycle power plants. A hydrophobic condenser surface within these plants could boost overall cycle efficiency by 2%. In 2022, this enhancement equates to an additional electrical power generation of 1000 TWh annually, or 83% of the global solar electricity production. Furthermore, this efficiency increase reduces CO2emissions by 460 million tons /year with a decreased use of 2 trillion gallons of cooling water per year. However, the main challenge with hydrophobic surfaces is their poor durability. Here, we show that solid microscale-thick fluorinated diamond-like carbon (F-DLC) possesses mechanical and thermal properties that ensure durability in moist, abrasive, and thermally harsh conditions. The F-DLC coating achieves this without relying on atmospheric interactions, infused lubricants, self-healing strategies, or sacrificial surface designs. Through tailored substrate adhesion and multilayer deposition, we develop a pinhole-free F-DLC coating with low surface energy and comparable Young’s modulus to metals. In a three-year steam condensation experiment, the F-DLC coating maintains hydrophobicity, resulting in sustained and improved dropwise condensation on multiple metallic substrates. Our findings provide a promising solution to hydrophobic material fragility and can enhance the sustainability of renewable and non-renewable energy sources.

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  4. Abstract Durable hydrophobic materials have attracted considerable interest in the last century. Currently, the most popular strategy to achieve hydrophobic coating durability is through the combination of a perfluoro-compound with a mechanically robust matrix to form a composite for coating protection. The matrix structure is typically large (thicker than 10 μm), difficult to scale to arbitrary materials, and incompatible with applications requiring nanoscale thickness such as heat transfer, water harvesting, and desalination. Here, we demonstrate durable hydrophobicity and superhydrophobicity with nanoscale-thick, perfluorinated compound-free polydimethylsiloxane vitrimers that are self-healing due to the exchange of network strands. The polydimethylsiloxane vitrimer thin film maintains excellent hydrophobicity and optical transparency after scratching, cutting, and indenting. We show that the polydimethylsiloxane vitrimer thin film can be deposited through scalable dip-coating on a variety of substrates. In contrast to previous work achieving thick durable hydrophobic coatings by passively stacking protective structures, this work presents a pathway to achieving ultra-thin (thinner than 100 nm) durable hydrophobic films. 
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