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Issue 45, 2019
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Phase separation of mixtures after a second quench: composition heterogeneities

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Abstract

We investigate binary mixtures undergoing phase separation after a second (deeper) temperature quench into two- and three-phase coexistence regions. The analysis is based on a lattice theory previously developed for gas–liquid separation in generic mixtures. Our previous results, which considered an arbitrary number of species and a single quench, showed that, due to slow changes in composition, dense colloidal mixtures can phase-separate in two stages. Moreover, the denser phase contains long-lived composition heterogeneities that originate as the interfaces of shrunk domains. Here we predict several new effects that arise after a second quench, mostly associated with the extent to which crowding can slow down ‘fractionation’, i.e. equilibration of compositions. They include long-lived regular arrangements of secondary domains; wetting of fractionated interfaces by oppositely fractionated layers; ‘surface’-directed spinodal ‘waves’ propagating from primary interfaces; a ‘dead zone’ where no phase separation occurs; and, in the case of three-phase coexistence, filamentous morphologies arising out of secondary domains.

Graphical abstract: Phase separation of mixtures after a second quench: composition heterogeneities

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Publication details

The article was received on 22 Aug 2019, accepted on 16 Oct 2019 and first published on 16 Oct 2019


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C9SM01706B
Soft Matter, 2019,15, 9287-9299

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    Phase separation of mixtures after a second quench: composition heterogeneities

    P. de Castro and P. Sollich, Soft Matter, 2019, 15, 9287
    DOI: 10.1039/C9SM01706B

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