Adhesion and Interface Properties of Polydopamine and Polytetrafluoroethylene Thin Films
M Brownell and AK Nair, JOURNAL OF APPLIED MECHANICS-TRANSACTIONS OF THE ASME, 87, 121002 (2020).
Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) has been studied as a low friction surface coating since its discovery. The high wear-rate of PTFE reduces the usefulness of the polymer for mechanical purposes; however, combining PTFE with polydopamine (PDA) has been shown to greatly reduce the film wear-rate. During rubbing tests involving PDA/PTFE thin films, a tenacious layer of PTFE remains intact after substantial testing even though pure PTFE film layers are destroyed quickly. Understanding the interface mechanics that allow PTFE and PDA to adhere so well during experimental rubbing tests is necessary to improve the wear-rate of PDA/PTFE thin films. In this study, we use density functional theory (DFT) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulations to investigate the adhesive properties and interface deformation mechanisms between PDA and PTFE molecules. Steered molecular dynamics (SMD) is then performed on isolated pairs of PDA and PTFE molecules to investigate different modes of deformation from equilibrium. PDA trimer oligomers were identified as the most adhesive to PTFE and selected to use in a PDA/PTFE thin film, where nano-indentation and scratch tests are performed. Our results indicate that a combination of the unique deformation mechanisms of PDA molecules and the penetration of PTFE molecules into the PDA substrate provide the PTFE/PDA interface with its wear resistance.
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