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Modeling solvent evaporation during thin film formation in phase separating polymer mixtures

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Abstract

Preparation of thin films by dissolving polymers in a common solvent followed by evaporation of the solvent has become a routine processing procedure. However, modeling of thin film formation in an evaporating solvent has been challenging due to a need to simulate processes at multiple length and time scales. In this work, we present a methodology based on the principles of linear non-equilibrium thermodynamics, which allows systematic study of various effects such as the changes in the solvent properties due to phase transformation from liquid to vapor and polymer thermodynamics resulting from such solvent transformations. The methodology allows for the derivation of evaporative flux and boundary conditions near each surface for simulations of systems close to the equilibrium. We apply it to study thin film microstructural evolution in phase segregating polymer blends dissolved in a common volatile solvent and deposited on a planar substrate. Effects of the evaporation rates, interactions of the polymers with the underlying substrate and concentration dependent mobilities on the kinetics of thin film formation are studied.

Graphical abstract: Modeling solvent evaporation during thin film formation in phase separating polymer mixtures

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Publication details

The article was received on 29 Dec 2017, accepted on 09 Feb 2018 and first published on 09 Feb 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02560B
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018, Advance Article
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    Modeling solvent evaporation during thin film formation in phase separating polymer mixtures

    J. Cummings, J. S. Lowengrub, B. G. Sumpter, S. M. Wise and R. Kumar, Soft Matter, 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02560B

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