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The memory of thin polymer films generated by spin coating

Günter Reiter, Farzad Ramezani, Jörg Baschnagel. EPJE 45 (2022) 51

We present results from isothermal and temperature-sweep creep experiments adapted to filaments which were derived from spin coated and subsequently crumpled thin polystyrene films. Due to the existence of residual stresses induced by preparation, the filaments showed significant shrinkage which we followed as a function of time at various temperatures. In addition, the influence of preparation conditions and subsequent annealing of supported thin polymer films on shrinkage and relaxation behavior was investigated. The temporal evolution of shrinkage revealed a sequence of relaxation regimes. We explored the temperature dependence of this relaxation and compared our observations with published results on drawn melt-spun fibers. This comparison revealed intriguing similarities between both systems prepared along different pathways. For instance, the magnitudes of shrinkage of melt-spun fibers and of filaments from crumpled spin coated polymer films are similar.  Thus, our results suggest the existence of generic mechanisms of “forgetting”, i.e., how non-equilibrated polymers lose their memory of past processing events.

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