skip to main content


This content will become publicly available on July 31, 2018

Title: Formation of a Crack-Free, Hybrid Skin Layer with Tunable Surface Topography and Improved Gas Permeation Selectivity on Elastomers Using Gel–Liquid Infiltration Polymerization

Surface modifications of elastomers and gels are crucial for emerging applications such as soft robotics and flexible electronics, in large part because they provide a platform to control wettability, adhesion, and permeability. Current surface modification methods via ultraviolet-ozone (UVO) and/or O2 plasma, atomic layer deposition (ALD), plasmas deposition, and chemical treatment impart a dense polymer or inorganic layer on the surface that is brittle and easy to fracture at low strain levels. This paper presents a new method, based on gel–liquid infiltration polymerization, to form hybrid skin layers atop elastomers. The method is unique in that it allows for control of the skin layer topography, with tunable feature sizes and aspect ratios as high as 1.8 without fracture. Unlike previous techniques, the skin layer formed here dramatically improves the barrier properties of the elastomer, while preserving skin layer flexibility. Furthermore, the method is versatile and likely applicable to most interfacial polymerization systems and network polymers on flat and patterned surfaces.
 [1] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [4] ; ORCiD logo [4] ;  [3] ; ORCiD logo [3] ;  [5] ; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
  2. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, MD (United States)
  3. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Boulder, CO (United States)
  4. Univ. at Buffalo, The State Univ. of New York, Buffalo, NY (United States)
  5. Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 1944-8244; KC0403020
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 33; Journal ID: ISSN 1944-8244
American Chemical Society (ACS)
Research Org:
Brookhaven National Lab. (BNL), Upton, NY (United States). Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; gas separation membranes; gels and elastomers; skin layers; surface modifications; surface wrinkles; Center for Functional Nanomaterials
OSTI Identifier: