Viscoelastic effects and anomalous transient levelling exponents in thin films
Laboratoire de Physico-Chimie Théorique, UMR CNRS 7083 Gulliver, ESPCI ParisTech 10 rue Vauquelin, 75005, Paris, France
Received: 27 February 2014
Accepted: 16 April 2014
We study theoretically the profile evolution of a thin viscoelastic film supported onto a no-slip flat substrate. Due to the nonconstant initial curvature at the free surface, there is a flow driven by Laplace pressure and mediated by viscoelasticity. In the framework of lubrication theory, we derive a thin-film equation that contains local viscoelastic stress through the Maxwell model. Then, considering a sufficiently regular small perturbation of the free surface, we linearise the equation and derive its general solution. We analyse and discuss in details the behaviour of this function. We then use it to study the viscoelastic evolution of a Gaussian initial perturbation through its transient levelling exponent. For initial widths of the profile that are smaller than a characteristic length scale involving both the film thickness and the elastocapillary length, this exponent is shown to reach anomalously high values at the elastic-to-viscous transition. This prediction should in particular be observed at sufficiently short times in experiments on thin polymer films.
PACS: 68.15.+e – Liquid thin films / 83.60.Bc – Linear viscoelasticity / 02.30.Jr – Partial differential equations
© EPLA, 2014