Fabrication of robust, superhydrophobic, electrically conductive and UV-blocking fabrics via layer-by-layer assembly of carbon nanotubes†
Multifunctional fabrics with excellent water repellency are very useful for practical applications. In this study, poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) fabrics were functionalized by introducing carbon nanotubes (CNTs) onto the PET fibers via a facile layer-by-layer electrostatic assembly using poly(dimethyl diallyl ammonium chloride) as a polyelectrolyte, followed by post-treatment with poly(dimethylsiloxane) (PDMS). The obtained fabric surfaces possessed superhydrophobicity, UV blocking properties and electrical conductivity. The hydrophobicity and electrical conductivities of the PET fabrics were systematically tunable by controlling the number of assembly layers. Wettability tests showed that the superhydrophobicity of the modified fabrics was robust to acid/alkaline etching, UV irradiation, long-time laundering and mechanical abrasion. Moreover, electrical conductivity showed no significant change even after repeating water laundering 20 times.