Langmuir, Vol.36, No.1, 204-213, 2020
On the Effect of Substrate Viscoelasticity on the Evaporation Kinetics and Deposition Patterns of Nanosuspension Drops
This study investigates the evaporation of sessile pure water and nanosuspension drops on viscoelastic polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) films. We varied the viscoelasticity of the PDMS films by controlling the curing ratio and categorized them into three types: stiff (10:1, 20:1, 40:1), soft (60:1, 80:1), and very soft (100:1, 120:1, 140:1, 160:1). On stiff surfaces, pure water drops initially evaporate in a constant contact radius (CCR) mode, followed by a constant contact angle mode, and finally in a mixed mode of evaporation. Nano suspension drops follow the same trend as water drops but with a difference toward the end of their lifetimes, when a short second CCR mode is observed. Complete evaporation of nanosuspension drops on stiff substrates leads to particle deposition patterns similar to a coffee ring with cracks and deposition tails. On soft surfaces, the initial spreading is followed by a pseudo-CCR mode. Complete evaporation of nanosuspension drops on soft substrates leads to deposits in the form of a uniform ring with a sharp ox-horn profile. Unexpectedly, the initial spreading is followed by a mixed mode on very soft substrates, on which wetting ridges (WRs) pulled up by the vertical component of surface tension are clearly observed in the vicinity of the contact line (CL). As the evaporation proceeds, the decreasing contact angle breaks the force balance in the horizontal direction at the CL and gives rise to a net horizontal force, which causes the CL to recede, transferring the horizontal force to the WR. Because of the viscoelastic nature of the very soft substrate, this horizontal force acting on the WR cannot be completely countered by the bulk of the substrate underneath. As a result, the WR moves horizontally in a viscous-flow way, which also enables the CL to be continuously anchored to the ridge and to recede relative to the bulk of the substrate. Consequently, a mixed mode of evaporation occurs. Complete evaporation of nanosuspension drops on very soft substrates leads to finger-like deposits.