Dewetting of thin liquid films near soft elastomeric layers

Satish Kumar, Omar K. Matar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Thin liquid film instabilities driven by van der Waals forces and in the proximity of soft elastomeric layers are considered in this work through two model problems: (i) a liquid film resting on an elastomeric layer and (ii) a liquid film bounded from one side by a rigid substrate and from the other side by an elastomeric layer. The elastomeric layers are modeled as linear viscoelastic solids, van der Waals forces are assumed to act only in the liquid, and lubrication theory and linear stability analysis are applied. For a liquid film resting on an elastomeric layer, substrate deformability has a destabilizing effect, as evidenced by an increase in the maximum growth rate and range of unstable wavenumbers. The destabilization worsens for thicker solid layers and is due to a lowering of the effective liquid-air interfacial tension. For an elastomeric layer resting on a liquid film, layer deformability has a stabilizing effect for thin layers but a destabilizing effect for thicker layers, with the former due to an enhancement and the latter due to a reduction of the effective solid-air interfacial tension. The results presented here suggest the possibility of exploiting the dewetting of thin liquid films to create topographically patterned surfaces on soft polymeric solids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)581-588
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 15 2004

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgment is made to the donors of the Petroleum Research Fund, administered by the American Chemical Society, for partial support of this research. S.K. also thanks the Shell Oil Company Foundation for support through its Faculty Career Initiation Funds program, and 3M for a Nontenured Faculty Award.


  • Dewetting
  • Elastomer
  • Liquid films
  • Soft substrates


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