A model system to mimic environmentally active surface film roughness and hydrophobicity

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Sunday, October 1, 2017
Jacob S. Grant
Scott K. Shaw
Journal Title: 

This work presents the development and initial assessment of a laboratory platform to allow quantitative studies on model urban films. The platform consists of stearic acid and eicosane mixtures that are solution deposited from hexanes onto smooth, solid substrates. We show that this model has distinctive capabilities to better mimic a naturally occurring film's morphology and hydrophobicity, two important parameters that have not previously been incorporated into model film systems. The physical and chemical properties of the model films are assessed using a variety of analytical instruments. The film thickness and roughness are probed via atomic force microscopy while the film composition, wettability, and water uptake are analyzed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, contact angle goniometry, and quartz crystal microbalance, respectively. Simulated environmental maturation is achieved by exposing the film to regulated amounts of UV/ozone. Ultimately, oxidation of the film is monitored by the analytical techniques mentioned above and proceeds as expected to produce a utile model film system. Including variable roughness and tunable surface coverage results in several key advantages over prior model systems, and will more accurately represent native urban film behavior.


Grant, Jacob S., and Scott K. Shaw. "A model system to mimic environmentally active surface film roughness and hydrophobicity." Chemosphere 185 (2017): 772-779.