It is well-known that polymer brushes can degraft in aqueous liquids. Here we show that brushes can deteriorate in humid air too. We observe that the detachment rate of the brushes increases with increasing relative humidity and hydrophilicity of the brushes. We relate this to the increase in water absorption as these parameters are increased. Our results imply that protective measures that are at present being developed for applications of brushes in liquids will also be key in enabling the long-term storage and utilization of hydrophilic brushes in air.
- polymer brush