Colloidal silica nanoparticles synthesized from tetraethoxysiliane (TEOS) via a sol-gel process were surface-modified first by 3-(trimethoxysilyl)propyl methacrylate (MSMA), and then by trimethylethoxysilane (TMES). The former agent acts both as a coupling agent and as a C=C provider, whereas the latter agent is used to prevent particle aggregation and to increase hydrophobicity of the coating. The modified silica particles were UV-cured together with the monomer, 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate (2-HEMA), and the crosslinking agent, dipentaethritol hexaacrylate (DPHA), to form hard coatings on plastic substrates. Both differential scanning calorimetric (DSC) and thermal gravimetric (TG) analyses of the hybrid materials indicated enhanced thermal stability with respect to the neat HEMA-DPHA copolymer. Furthermore, due to the incorporation of TMES, hydrophobicity of the hybrid coating increased considerably with increasing modified-silica content. In the extreme case, an anti-abrasive hard coating (7H on PMMA) with a water contact angle of 99o has been obtained at the silica content of 15%.
Journal of Coatings Technology and Research 11(3), pp.381-386