Structural relaxation of spin-cast glassy polymer thin films as a possible factor in dewetting
Department of Physics, University of Surrey, GU2 7XH, UK,
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Reiter  has recently reported a situation in which the dewetting of quasi-solid films is linked to plastic deformation - rather than viscous flow - resulting from capillary forces. Herein we propose that, in thin films of some glassy polymers - especially poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) - prepared by spin-casting from solvent, structural relaxation might impart sufficient stress to cause plastic deformation. We find that PMMA films decrease in thickness by several percent, which is sufficient to create significant stress in those cases in which the film is attached to a rigid substrate. The floating technique, which can take tens of minutes, might allow most of the structural relaxation to occur prior to dewetting experiments.
© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica, and Springer-Verlag, 2003