Organofunctional silanes are applied as coupling agents between organic coatings and low carbon steel substrates to promote adhesion. Although the metal oxide–silane interface plays an important role in the performance of the entire overlying coating system, it remains challenging to obtain a clear understanding of the interfacial molecular bonding mechanism and its influence on adhesion. In this work, time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometry is used to study interfacial interactions between aminopropyl triethoxysilane (APS) and low carbon steel. APS is shown to bond to the steel substrate through silanol steel and amine–steel interactions, and coatings are cured at varying temperatures to evaluate the influence of curing on these different types of bonding interactions. Unambiguous evidence for hydrogen bond interactions between APS silanol groups and steel surface hydroxyl groups is provided for the first time in this work through deuteration of the steel substrate and allows to tackle long-lasting doubts about the most wide-spread bonding theory that has been postulated for silane adsorption on metals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)692-700
Number of pages9
JournalACS Omega
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jan 2020

ID: 48974978