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Dewetting acrylic polymer films with water/propylene carbonate/surfactant mixtures - Implications for cultural heritage conservation

Abstract

The removal of hydrophobic polymer films from surfaces is one of the top priorities of modern conservation science. Nanostructured fluids containing water, a good solvent for the polymer, either immiscible or partially miscible with water, and surfactants have been used in the last decade to achieve controlled removal. The dewetting of the polymer film is often an essential step to achieve efficient removal; however, the role of the surfactant throughout the process is yet to be fully understood. We report on the dewetting of a methacrylate/acrylate copolymer film induced by a ternary mixture of water, propylene carbonate (PC) and C9-11E6, a nonionic alcohol ethoxylate surfactant. The fluid microstructure was characterized through Small Angle X-Ray Scattering and the interaction between the film and water, water/PC and water/PC/C9-11E6 was monitored through confocal laser-scanning microscopy (CLSM) and analyzed both from a thermodynamic and a kinetic point of view. The surfactant presence is a prerequisite to induce dewetting of μm-thick films at room temperature, but it is not a thermodynamic driver. The amphiphile lowers the interfacial energy between the phases, favors the loss of adhesion of the polymer on glass, decreasing, in turn, the activation energy barrier, which can be overcome by the thermal fluctuations of polymer film stability, initiating the dewetting process.

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Apr 2017, accepted on 18 May 2017 and first published on 18 May 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CP02608K
Citation: Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Dewetting acrylic polymer films with water/propylene carbonate/surfactant mixtures - Implications for cultural heritage conservation

    M. BAGLIONI, C. Montis, F. Brandi, T. Guaragnone, I. Meazzini, P. Baglioni and D. Berti, Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7CP02608K

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