2023 Impact factor 1.8
Soft Matter and Biological Physics

Eur. Phys. J. E 8, 137-143 (2002)
DOI: 10.1140/epje/i2001-10061-3

The timescale of spinodal dewetting at a polymer/polymer interface

A.M. Higgins1, M. Sferrazza2, R.A.L. Jones1, P.C. Jukes1, J.S. Sharp1, L.E. Dryden1 and J. Webster3

1  Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Sheffield, The Hicks Building, Sheffield S3 7RH, UK
2  Department of Physics, University of Surrey, Guildford, Surrey GU2 5XH, UK
3  ISIS Facility, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, Didcot, Oxfordshire OX11 OQX, UK


(Received 25 June 2001 and Received in final form 5 December 2001)

We investigate the dynamics of spinodal dewetting in liquid-liquid polymer systems. Dewetting of poly(methyl-methacrylate) (PMMA) thin films on polystyrene (PS) "substrates" is followed in situ using neutron reflectivity. By following the development of roughness at the PS/PMMA interface and the PMMA surface we extract characteristic growth times for the dewetting process. These characteristic growth times are measured as a function of the molecular weight of the two polymers. By also carrying out experiments in the regime where the dynamics are independent of the PS molecular weight, we are able to use dewetting to probe the scaling of the PMMA thin film viscosity with temperature and molecular weight. We find that this scaling reflects bulk behaviour. However, absolute values are low compared to bulk viscosities, which we suggest may be due in part to slippage at the polymer/polymer interface.

61.12.Ha - Neutron reflectometry.
61.25.Hq - Macromolecular and polymer solutions; polymer melts; swelling.
83.85.Jn - Viscosity measurements.

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, Springer-Verlag 2002