Microstructured magnetoactive elastomers for switchable wettability

R. Kriegl, G. Kravanja, L. Hribar, L. Čoga, I. Drevenšek-Olenik, M. Jezeršek, M. Kalin, M. Shamonin

Polymers 14 (2022) 3883 1-22


We demonstrate the control of wettability of non-structured and microstructured magnetoactive elastomers (MAEs) by magnetic field. The synthesized composite materials have a concentration of carbonyl iron particles of 75 wt.% (≈27 vol.%) and three different stiffnesses of the elastomer matrix. A new method of fabrication of MAE coatings on plastic substrates is presented, which allows one to enhance the response of the apparent contact angle to the magnetic field by exposing the particle-enriched side of MAEs to water. A magnetic field is not applied during crosslinking. The highest variation of the contact angle from (113 ± 1)° in zero field up to (156 ± 2)° at about 400 mT is achieved in the MAE sample with the softest matrix. Several lamellar and pillared MAE structures are fabricated by laser micromachining. The lateral dimension of surface structures is about 50 µm and the depth varies between 3 µm and 60 µm. A systematic investigation of the effects of parameters of laser processing (laser power and the number of passages of the laser beam) on the wetting behavior of these structures in the absence and presence of a magnetic field is performed. In particular, strong anisotropy of the wetting behavior of lamellar structures is observed. The results are qualitatively discussed in the framework of the Wenzel and Cassie–Baxter models. Finally, directions of further research on magnetically controlled wettability of microstructured MAE surfaces are outlined. The obtained results may be useful for the development of magnetically controlled smart surfaces for droplet-based microfluidics.

URL: https://doi.org/10.3390/polym14183883

Keywords: magnetoactive elastomer, wetting, contact angle, surface microstructuring, laser micromachining, optical profilometry

Export bibliography