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This article reports on the fabrication of cotton fabrics with single-faced superhydrophobicity using a simple foam finishing process. Unlike most commonly reported superhydrophobic fabrics, the fabrics developed in this study exhibit asymmetric wettability on their two faces: one face showing superhydrophobic behavior (highly nonwetting or water-repellent characteristics) and the other face retaining the inherent hydrophilic nature of cotton. The superhydrophobic face exhibits a low contact angle hysteresis of θ(a)/θ(r) = 151°/144° (θ(a), advancing contact angle; θ(r), receding contact angle), which enables water drops to roll off the surface easily so as to endow the surface with well-known self-cleaning properties. The untreated hydrophilic face preserves its water-absorbing capability, resulting in 44% of the water-absorbing capacity compared to that of the original cotton samples with both sides untreated (hydrophilic). The single-faced superhydrophobic fabrics also retain moisture transmissibility that is as good as that of the original untreated cotton fabrics. They also show robust washing fastness with the chemical cross-linking process of hydrophobic fluoropolymer to fabric fibers. Fabric materials with such asymmetric or gradient wettability will be of great use in many applications such as unidirectional liquid transporting, moisture management, microfluidic systems, desalination of seawater, flow management in fuel cells, and water/oil separation.

Citation

Yuyang Liu, J H Xin, Chang-Hwan Choi. Cotton fabrics with single-faced superhydrophobicity. Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids. 2012 Dec 18;28(50):17426-34

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PMID: 23186211

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