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Issue 16, 2018
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Drop spreading and gelation of thermoresponsive polymers

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Spreading and solidification of liquid droplets are elementary processes of relevance for additive manufacturing. Here we investigate the effect of heat transfer on spreading of a thermoresponsive solution (Pluronic F127) that undergoes a sol–gel transition above a critical temperature Tm. By controlling the concentration of Pluronic F127 we systematically vary Tm, while also imposing a broad range of temperatures of the solid and the liquid. We subsequently monitor the spreading dynamics over several orders of magnitude in time and determine when solidification stops the spreading. It is found that the main parameter is the difference between the substrate temperature and Tm, pointing to a local mechanism for arrest near the contact line. Unexpectedly, the spreading is also found to stop below the gelation temperature, which we attribute to a local enhancement in polymer concentration due to evaporation near the contact line.

Graphical abstract: Drop spreading and gelation of thermoresponsive polymers

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Publication details

The article was received on 26 Dec 2017, accepted on 02 Apr 2018 and first published on 04 Apr 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02540H
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018,14, 3096-3104
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    Drop spreading and gelation of thermoresponsive polymers

    R. de Ruiter, L. Royon, J. H. Snoeijer and P. Brunet, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 3096
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SM02540H

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