Synergistic effect of electroactivity and hydrophobicity on the anticorrosion property of room-temperature-cured epoxy coatings with multi-scale structures mimicking the surface of Xanthosoma sagittifolium leaf†
A novel method is introduced to fabricate an electroactive epoxy (EE) coating with structured hydrophobic surfaces using an environmentally friendly process for anticorrosion application. First of all, the electroactive amine-capped aniline trimer (ACAT) was used as a curing agent to cure the epoxy resin and additionally provided electroactivity to the cured epoxy resin. The EE coating was cured at room temperature without using any solvent. The increased amount of the ACAT component in the EE coating not only accelerated the curing process but also promoted the thermal stability and anticorrosion performance. Subsequently, the multi-scale papilla-like structures on the surface of the Xanthosoma sagittifolium leaf were successfully replicated on the surface of the EE coating using PDMS as a negative template, as evidenced by the SEM investigation. The resulting hydrophobic electroactive epoxy (HEE) coating with the replicated nanostructured surface showed a hydrophobic characteristic with a water contact angle close to 120°. The developed HEE coating exhibited superior anticorrosion performance in electrochemical corrosion tests as its corrosion rate is better than that of the bare steel substrate by a factor of 450. The significantly improved corrosion protection is attributed to, besides the steel substrate isolated by the coating, the synergistic effect of electroactivity and hydrophobicity from the HEE coatings with the multi-scale structures mimicking the surface of the Xanthosoma sagittifolium leaf.