WIAS Preprint No. 1558, (2010)

Spin coating of an evaporating polymer solution


  • Münch, Andreas
  • Please, Colin P.
  • Wagner, Barbara
    ORCID: 0000-0001-8306-3645

2008 Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme

  • 47.15.gm, 47.85.md, 61.25.he 66.20.Cy


  • free boundary problem, asymptotic analysis, numerical simulation




We consider a mathematical model of spin coating of a single polymer blended in a solvent. The model describes the one-dimensional development of the thin layer of the mixture as the layer thins due to flow created by a balance of viscous forces and centrifugal forces and due to evaporation of the solvent. In the model both the diffusivity of the solvent in the polymer and the viscosity of the mixture are very rapidly varying functions of the solvent volume fraction. Guided by numerical solutions an asymptotic analysis reveals a number of different possible behaviours of the thinning layer dependent on the nondimensional parameters describing the system. The main practical interest is in controlling the appearance and development of a ``skin'' on the polymer where the solvent concentration reduces rapidly on the outer surface leaving the bulk of the layer still with high concentrations of solvent. The critical parameters controlling this behaviour are found to be $eps$ the ratio of the diffusion to advection time scales, $delta$ the ratio of the evaporation to advection time scales and $exp(-gamma)$, the ratio of the diffusivity of the initial mixture and the pure polymer. In particular, our analysis shows that for very small evaporation with $delta ll exp(-3/(4gamma)) eps^3/4$ skin formation can be prevented.

Appeared in

  • Physics of Fluids, 23 (2011) pp. 102101/1--102101/12.

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