Surface patterns in drying films of silica colloidal dispersions
We report an experimental study on the drying of silica colloidal dispersions. Here we focus on surface instability occurring in a drying paste phase before crack formation which affects the final film quality. Observations at macroscopic and microscopic scales reveal the occurrence of instability, and the morphology of the film surface. Furthermore, we show that the addition of adsorbing polymers on silica particles can be used to suppress the instability under particular conditions of molecular weight and concentration. We relate this suppression to the increase of the paste elastic modulus.