In this work, a two-stage methodology to design super-hydrophobic surfaces was proposed. The first step consists of creating a rough nano/micro-structure and the second step consists of reducing the surface energy using octadecyltrimethoxysilane. The surface roughening was realized by three different short-term pretreatments: (i) Boiling water, (ii) HNO3/HCl etching, or (iii) HF/HCl etching. Then, the surface energy was reduced by dip-coating in diluted solution of octadecyltrimethoxysilane to allow the formation of self-assembled silane monolayers on a 6082-T6 aluminum alloy surface. Super-hydrophobic aluminum surfaces were investigated by SEM-EDS, FTIR, profilometry, and contact and sliding angles measurements. The resulting surface morphologies by the three approaches were structured by a dual hierarchical nano/micro-roughness. The surface wettability varied with the applied roughening pretreatment. In particular, an extremely high water contact angle (around 180°) and low sliding angle (0°) were evidenced for the HF/HCl-etched silanized surface. The results of electrochemical tests demonstrate a remarkable enhancement of the aluminum alloy corrosion resistance through the proposed superhydrophobic surface modifications. Thus, the obtained results evidenced that the anti-wetting behavior of the aluminum surface can be optimized by coupling an appropriate roughening pretreatment with a self-assembled silane monolayer deposition (to reduce surface energy) for anticorrosion application.
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