A self-standing superhydrophobic material formed by the self-assembly of an individual amino acid

Tan Hu, Zhuo Zhang*, Meital Reches

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Hypothesis: There is a growing interest in designing superhydrophobic materials for many applications including self-clean surfaces, separation systems, and antifouling solutions. Peptides and amino acids offer attractive building blocks for these materials since they are biocompatible and biodegradable and can self-assemble into complex ordered structures. Experiments and Simulations: We designed a self-standing superhydrophobic material through the self-assembly of an individual functionalized aromatic amino acid, Cbz-Phe(4F). The self-assembly of Cbz-Phe(4F) was investigated by experimental and computational methods. Moreover, when drop-casted three times on a solid support, it formed a self-standing superhydrophobic material. The mechanical properties and chemical stability of this self-standing superhydrophobic material were demonstrated. Findings: The designed Cbz-Phe(4F) self-assembled into fibrous structures in solution. Molecular dynamics (MD) simulations revealed that the fibrous backbone of Cbz-Phe(4F) aggregations was stabilized through hydrogen bonds, whereas the isotropic growth of the aggregates was driven by hydrophobic interactions. Importantly, when drop-casted three times on a solid support, it formed a self-standing superhydrophobic material. Moreover, this material had a high mechanical strength, with a Young's modulus of 53 GPa, resistance to enzymatic degradation, and thermal stability up to 200 ℃. This study provides a simple strategy to generate smart and functional materials by the simple self-assembly of functional individual amino acids.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)899-908
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Volume655
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Amino acids
  • Mechanical properties
  • Molecular dynamics simulations
  • Self-assembly
  • Superhydrophobic material

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