Journal of Coatings Technology and Research

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 927–935 | Cite as

Spray-assisted layer-by-layer assembly of decorated PEI/PAA films: morphological, growth and mechanical behavior

  • Eduardo Ortega
  • Genaro Zavala
  • M. A. Gracia-Pinilla
  • E. de Casas
  • V. Guzman
  • J.-Luis MenchacaEmail author


The development and study of new smart materials is an emergent research area with high potential applications. In this study, we have fabricated poly(ethyleneimine)/poly(acrylic acid) multilayer films on glass substrates by automated spray-layer-by-layer (spray-LbL) technique. By analyzing the changes in thickness, roughness and elasticity, with fine-tuning of the operational parameters of the spray-LbL system, evident trends of its effect on the multilayer construction were observed. In the case of its mechanical properties, the stability of Young’s modulus (up to 8.25 GPa) from film thickness at this scale was detected, making it variable for other factors such as pH and molecular weight. This work also identified the healability phenomenon that is present in the exponentially grown PEI/PAA samples, based on the reduction in viscosity of the polymer complexes and the interdiffusion of polyelectrolytes at the damaged zones in the presence of water. These properties allow for the assembly of a highly electrically conductive multilayered film by dispersion of a top layer of silver nanowires whose sheet resistance is increased around 5% after multiple damaging events. These experimental results provide new data for the evaluation and design of polyelectrolyte multilayers assembled with a spin-assisted automated spray deposition system to serve as substrates for mechanoelectrical devices which can benefit from its self-healing and modulated mechanical capabilities.


Polyelectrolytes Spraying Layer-by-layer assembly Nanowires Self-healing 



The project described was supported by CAT-120 Research Program by Tecnologico de Monterrey, CONACYT-Mexico Award Number (168813) and PAICYT-UANL 2015 Grant Number (IT 489-15).

Funding was provided by Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (Grant No. 169319).

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MP4 19628 kb)

11998_2016_9896_MOESM2_ESM.docx (12 mb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 12277 kb)


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Copyright information

© American Coatings Association 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhysicsTecnológico de MonterreyMonterreyMexico
  2. 2.Facultad de Ciencias Físico MatemáticasUniversidad Autónoma de Nuevo LeónSan Nicolás de los GarzaMexico
  3. 3.Centro de Investigación en Innovación y Desarrollo en Ingeniería y TecnologíaUniversidad Autónoma de Nuevo LeónApodacaMexico

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