Amphiphilic Hyperbranched Fluoropolymer Networks as Passive and Active Antibiofouling Coatings: From Fundamental Chemical Development to Performance Evaluation
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The overall emphasis of this doctoral dissertation is on the design, synthesis, detailed characterization and application of amphiphilic hyperbranched fluoropolymers (HBFPs) crosslinked with poly(ethylene glycols) (PEGs) in complex polymer coatings as anti-biofouling surfaces. This dissertation bridges synthetic polymer chemistry, materials science and biology to produce functional coatings capable of fouling prevention, demonstrating thermo-controlled healing and acting as a benchmark surface to understand component:property relationships prior to increasing formulation complexities. A two-dimensional array of HBFP-PEG coatings was produced by the co-deposition of uniquely composed HBFPs with varying weight percentages of PEG. Bulk and surface properties were evaluated and assigned to formulation trends. Based on these findings, the most viable candidates were replicated and their fouling responses were assessed against three marine fouling organisms. An active mode of biofouling resistance was covalently grafted onto the surface of HBFP-PEG. The presentation of the settlement-deterrent molecule noradrenaline (NA) works in tandem with the highly-complex surface, to act as a dual-mode, anti-biofouling coating NA-HBFP-PEG. Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) was employed to quantify the extent of NA substitution. Biological assays against oyster hemocytes confirmed the activity of the grafted NA and cyprid settlement assays supported that the overall anti-biofouling ability of NA-HBFP-PEG was increased by 75%. Thermally-reversible crosslinks were installed as healable units throughout the framework of the networks, with the goal of generating coatings that could possess a greater resistance to mechanical failure. Small molecule and linear polymer models were probed by nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and gel permeation chromatography (GPC) to demonstrate the controlled reversibility of the crosslinks. Optical microscopy was employed to visualize surface scratch healing and fluorescence microscopy was used to identify the adsorption behavior of fluorescently-labeled proteins. A benchmark, anti-biofouling surface was generated through thiol-ene crosslinking of a linear fluoropolymer with pendant alkenes (LFPene) with pentaerythritol tetrakis(3-mercaptopropionate) (PETMP). Core constituents were evaluated spectroscopically and surfaces of LFPene-PETMP, along with two model surfaces that largely expressed a single component, were analyzed to understand how individual elements and blending contributed to the physical, mechanical and anti-biofouling properties to generate a performance baseline to compare against future generations.
Imbesi, Philip (2012). Amphiphilic Hyperbranched Fluoropolymer Networks as Passive and Active Antibiofouling Coatings: From Fundamental Chemical Development to Performance Evaluation. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from