Creation of superhydrophobic stainless steel surfaces by acid treatments and hydrophobic film deposition

ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2012 Sep 26;4(9):4549-56. doi: 10.1021/am301666c. Epub 2012 Aug 31.


In this work, we present a method to render stainless steel surfaces superhydrophobic while maintaining their corrosion resistance. Creation of surface roughness on 304 and 316 grade stainless steels was performed using a hydrofluoric acid bath. New insight into the etch process is developed through a detailed analysis of the chemical and physical changes that occur on the stainless steel surfaces. As a result of intergranular corrosion, along with metallic oxide and fluoride redeposition, surface roughness was generated on the nano- and microscales. Differences in alloy composition between 304 and 316 grades of stainless steel led to variations in etch rate and different levels of surface roughness for similar etch times. After fluorocarbon film deposition to lower the surface energy, etched samples of 304 and 316 stainless steel displayed maximum static water contact angles of 159.9 and 146.6°, respectively. However, etching in HF also caused both grades of stainless steel to be susceptible to corrosion. By passivating the HF-etched samples in a nitric acid bath, the corrosion resistant properties of stainless steels were recovered. When a three step process was used, consisting of etching, passivation and fluorocarbon deposition, 304 and 316 stainless steel samples exhibited maximum contact angles of 157.3 and 134.9°, respectively, while maintaining corrosion resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't