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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2023
  2. Conventional approaches to mitigate fouling of membrane surfaces impart hydrophilicity to the membrane surface, which increases the water of hydration and fluidity near the surface. By contrast, we demonstrate here that tuning the membrane surface energy close to that of the dispersive component of water surface tension (21.8 mN m −1 ) can also improve the antifouling properties of the membrane. Specifically, ultrafiltration (UF) membranes were first modified using polydopamine (PDA) followed by grafting of amine-terminated polysiloxane (PSi-NH 2 ). For example, with 2 g L −1 PSi-NH 2 coating solution, the obtained coating layer contains 53% by mass fraction PSi-NH 2 and exhibits a total surface energy of 21 mN m −1 , decreasing the adsorption of bovine serum albumin by 44% compared to the unmodified membrane. When challenged with 1 g L −1 sodium alginate in a constant-flux crossflow system, the PSi-NH 2 -grafted membrane exhibits a 70% lower fouling rate than the pristine membrane at a water flux of 110 L (m 2 h) −1 and good stability when cleaned with NaOH solutions.
  3. Thiolactone chemistry has garnered significant attention as a powerful post-polymerization modification (PPM) route to mutlifunctional polymeric materials. Here, we apply this versatile chemistry to the fabrication of ultrathin, multifunctional polymer surfaces via aminolysis and thiol-mediated double modifications of thiolactone-containing polymer brushes. Polymer brush surfaces were synthesized via microwave-assisted surface-initiated polymerization of dl -homocysteine thiolactone acrylamide. Aminolysis and thiol-Michael double modifications of the thiolactone-functional brush were explored using both sequential and one-pot reactions with bromobenzyl amine and 1 H ,1 H -perfluoro- N -decyl acrylate. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and argon gas cluster ion sputter depth profiling enabled quantitative comparison of the sequential and one-pot PPM routes with regard to conversion and spatial distribution of functional groups immobilized throughout thickness of the brush. While one-pot conditions proved to be more effective in immobilizing the amine and acrylate within the brush, the sequential reaction enabled the fabrication of multifunctional, micropatterned brush surfaces using reactive microcontact printing.

    The properties of thin supported polymer films can be dramatically impacted by the substrate upon which it resides. A simple way to alter the properties of the substrate (chemistry, rigidity, dynamics) is by coating it with an immiscible polymer. Here, we describe how ultrathin (ca. 2 nm) hydrophilic polymer layers of poly(acrylic acid) and poly(styrene sulfonate) (PSS) impact the aging behavior and the residual stress in thin films of poly(butylnorbornene‐ran‐hydroxyhexafluoroisopropyl norbornene) (BuNB‐r‐HFANB). The aging rate decreases as the film thickness (h) is decreased, but the extent of this change depends on the adjacent layer. Even for the thickest films (h > 500 nm), there is a decrease in the aging rate at 100 °C when BuNB‐r‐HFANB is in contact with PSS. In an effort to understand the origins of these differences in the aging behavior, the elastic modulus and residual stress (σR) in the films were determined by wrinkling as a function of aging time. The change in the elastic modulus during aging does not appear to be directly correlated with the densification or expansion of the films, but the aging rates appear to roughly scale ashσR1/3. These results illustrate that the physical aging of thin polymer films can be altered by adjacent polymers.more »© 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J. Polym. Sci., Part B: Polym. Phys.2019,57, 992–1000

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