Alkoxysilanes, and mainly trialkoxysilanes, have been widely used as coupling agents on metallic surfaces. They are of interest mainly because they form a water-stable covalent bond with a surface composed of hydroxides. The grafting of these molecules should also give rise to the formation of a siloxane network at the substrate's surface. However, only a few studies examine stainless steel substrate, such as AISI 316L, for which the main difficulty is the low surface reactivity. In order to improve the silane anchoring, a prehydrolysis of the alkoxysilane was performed to transform the methoxy groups into silanol groups. This reaction happened in an aqueous medium and at a controlled pH, which impacted the prehydrolysis efficiency. Curing followed this step, which allows the grafting of the alkoxysilane on stainless steel's surface. Polarization modulation infrared reflection absorption spectroscopy (PM-IRRAS) was performed in order to identify the grafting of the silane molecules. Tests were made to compare the grafting of alkoxysilanes as a function of their functional groups and their prehydrolysis conditions. PM-IRRAS coupled with atomic force microscopy allowed the observation of the grafting of the studied alkoxysilanes. The nature of the remaining functional group (its ability to react with polymer, for example) of the alkoxysilane plays a major role in this process, since its chemical nature influences the grafting mechanism.
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