Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.57, No.15, 2901-2905, 2002
Evaporation-induced pattern formation in polymer films via secondary phase separation
The ordered necklace-like or cellular pattern formation has been investigated for ternary polymer solutions in which primary and secondary phase separations were induced by the solvent evaporation. The patterns consisted of regular droplet arrays of various diameters, which arose in the pre-existing polymer phases via the secondary phase separation. The pattern formation was enhanced with increasing air velocity and ambient humidity, while it was suppressed with decreasing initial film thickness. The regular pattern was independent of surface wettability of the solid substrate. We ascribe the morphology change to the evaporation-induced surface tension driven convection, which re-arranged the droplet distributions from disordered to flow-induced ordered patterns.