Effect of pendent chains on the interfacial properties of thin polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) networks

Langmuir. 2011 May 17;27(10):5944-52. doi: 10.1021/la105012c. Epub 2011 Apr 15.


The interfacial properties of end-linked polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) films on silicon are examined. Thin cross-linked PDMS films (∼10 μm thick) were synthesized over a self-assembled monolayer supported on a silicon wafer. By systematically varying the concentration of monofunctional PDMS in a mixture with telechelic precursor molecules, structures ranging from near-ideal elastic networks to poorly cross-linked networks composed of a preponderance of dangling/pendent chains were synthesized. Lateral force microscopy (LFM) employing bead probes was used to quantify the effect of network structure on the interfacial friction coefficient and residual force. Indentation measurements employing an AFM in force mode were used to characterize the elastic modulus and the pull-off force for the films as a function of pendent chain content. These measurements were complemented with conventional mechanical rheometry measurements on similar thick network films to determine their bulk rheological properties. All networks studied manifested interfacial friction coefficients substantially lower than that of bare silicon. PDMS networks with the lowest pendent chain content displayed friction coefficients close to 1 order of magnitude lower than that of bare silicon, whereas networks with the highest pendent chain content manifested friction coefficients about 3 times lower than that of bare silicon. At intermediate sliding velocities, a crossover in the interfacial friction coefficient was observed, wherein cross-linked PDMS films with the least amount of pendent chains exhibit the highest friction coefficient. These observations are discussed in terms of the structure of the films and relaxation dynamics of elastic strands and dangling chains in tethered network films.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes / chemistry*
  • Elastic Modulus
  • Friction
  • Microscopy, Atomic Force
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Surface Properties


  • Dimethylpolysiloxanes
  • baysilon