The superhydrophilic self-cleaning surface can perfectly deal with oil pollution, which cannot be realized by the superhydrophobic surface. This research is designed to study the mechanism of wetting behavior of superhydrophilic coating with different function groups and guide to design a stable self-cleaning surface. We prepare several hydrophilic coatings including nonionic, ionic, and zwitterionic coatings to investigate their self-cleaning performance underwater when they have been polluted by oil in the dry state. The chemical composition, surface roughness, static and dynamic wettability, underwater oil adhesive force, and swelling degree of the coatings are studied to explore their oil dewetting mechanism. The results indicate that the wettability of the coating to water and oil is the key factor to determine the self-cleaning performance. The smooth 3-sulfopropyl methacrylate potassium salt (SA) anionic coating shows the best self-cleaning performance even when polluted by heavy crude oil in the dry state in air. It is also found that in the dry state, the rough hydrophilic anionic surface will lock up the oil in the structures and then lose its self-cleaning ability underwater, whereas the oil droplet can detach from the smooth coating surface quickly. Meanwhile, the superhydrophilic and underwater superoleophobic SA anionic surfaces also exhibit excellent anti-fogging and oil-water separation performance.
- underwater superoleophobic