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Soft Matter and Biological Physics

Eur. Phys. J. E 5, 599-603 (2001)

Crack patterns in drying protein solution drops

C.C. Annarelli, J. Fornazero, J. Bert and J. Colombani

Département de Physique des Matériaux (UMR CNRS 5586) - bâtiment Brillouin, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, 6 rue Ampère, 69622 Lyon-Villeurbanne Cedex, France


(Received 23 November 2000 and Received in final form 6 July 2001)

A deposited drop of bovine serum albumin salt solution experiences both gelation and fracturation during evaporation. The cracks appearing at the edge of the gelling drop are regularly spaced, due to the competition between the evaporation-induced and relaxation-induced stress evolution. Subsequently, the mean crack spacing evolves in an unexpected way, being inversely proportional instead of proportional to the deposit thickness. This evolution has been ascribed to the change with time of the average shrinkage stress, the crack patterning being purely elastic instead of evaporation-controlled.

62.20.Mk - Fatigue, brittleness, fracture, and cracks.
47.54.+r - Pattern selection; pattern formation.
82.70.Gg - Gels and sols.

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2001