A versatile platform to achieve mechanically robust mussel-inspired antifouling coatings via grafting-to approach†
Although significant progress has been made in mussel-inspired antifouling coatings, most of them suffer from low mechanical stability. Herein, we present a facile and efficient method to fabricate mechanically robust mussel-inspired antifouling coatings. A polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)-based mussel-inspired coating material, which exhibits the highest adhesion capability (always at 5B level in a tape adhesion test based on the ASTM D3359 method) and excellent anti-abrasive properties (little mass loss after 1000 abrasion cycles), is used as a universal platform for further modification to introduce antifouling properties. Intriguingly, the hydroxyl groups in this PVA-based coating material are used as the anchor for the installation of either hydrophilic or hydrophobic segments (or both) via a grafting-to approach. Single modifiers, methoxypolyethylene glycol (MPEG), sodium 2-hydroxyethanesulfonate (SHS) and 1H,1H,2H,2H-perfluorooctan-1-ol (PFO), and complex modifiers, MPEG/PFO, are tethered onto the coating through an effective urethane bond formation reaction to endow the surfaces with antifouling efficacy. The functionalized surfaces are shown to be effective in preventing bovine serum albumin (BSA) adsorption and in reducing bacterial (Gram-positive bacteria S. aureus and Gram-negative bacteria E. coli) adhesion. More importantly, such modification does not influence the strong adhesion and excellent anti-abrasion properties of the coating. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first example of merging excellent mechanical properties and antifouling capability for mussel-inspired coatings, which might find niches in a broad range of applications in the industrial and biomedical fields.