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Viscoelastic dewetting of constrained polymer thin films

Pascal Damman, Séverine Sclavons, Sylvain Gabriele, Sylvain Desprez, Günter Reiter, Moustafa Hamieh, Samer Al Akhrass, Thomas Vilmin, Elie Raphaël. Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics 44, 3022-3030 (2006)


Thin films of fluids are playing a leading role in countless natural and industrial processes. Here we study the stability and dewetting dynamics of viscoelastic polymer thin films. The dewetting of polystyrene close to the glass transition reveals unexpected features: asymmetric rims collecting the dewetted liquid and logarithmic growth laws that we explain by considering the nonlinear velocity dependence of friction at the fluid/solid interface and by evoking residual stresses within the film. Systematically varying the time so that films were stored below the glass-transition temperature, we studied simultaneously the probability for film rupture and the dewetting dynamics at early stages. Both approaches proved independently the significance of residual stresses arising from the fast solvent evaporation associated with the spin-coating process.

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