Wetting Kinetics of Films Containing Non-adsorbing Polymers

S. Saritha
Xianzhong Zhang
Partho Neogi, Missouri University of Science and Technology

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Kinetics of wetting by a polymer solution have been studied theoretically for a film pinned to a slot. The fluid mechanical equations have been solved using a numerical scheme. The role of polymers appears in the disjoining pressure in the model. The spreading kinetics are observed to follow a power law: a power of (1/4) is observed at short times due to the Laplace pressure, and (1/2) at large times under the Hamaker part of the disjoining pressure at very large times and with no equilibration. It is argued and demonstrated that techniques which have low resolutions such as microscopy will measure quite different kinetics: at short times a power of (1/4) as for wetting liquids and then a sudden equilibration as reported in these experiments. It is also argued on the basis of steric exclusion, and quantified in the disjoining pressure, that the behavior returns to that of wetting liquids when the polymer molecular weight becomes very high, as also observed in the experiments. Examples of how these features can find practical applications, and hence, the importance of use of polymers as additives are given.