Crystallization of condensation droplets on a liquid surface

Abstract : Highly ordered microporous two-dimensional membranes have been obtained from polymer solutions (Widawski et al. (1994) Nature 369: 397±399). Recently, a mechanism for the formation of such membranes was proposed, involving water vapour condensation (induced by the rapid evaporation of the volatile solvent) onto the surface of solutions and the formation of floating water droplets. Unfortunately, the droplets growth process was not observed, and consequently only qualitative information was reported. In the present paper, results of light-scattering experiments with this system are reported. The formation of water droplets growing at the surface of the solution has been observed and the evolution with time of the mean droplet radius has been found to be described by a power law with an exponent of 1/3, proving that no coalescence processes occur. This particular behaviour is attributed to the precipitation of the polymer at the water/solution interface and to the formation of a mechanically resistant polymer layer encapsulating each droplet. In this way, water droplets behave like solid particles, allowing compact sheets to be formed. The presence of important surface currents is believed to promote the formation of ``polycrystal'' and ``monocrystal'' patterns.
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  • HAL Id : hal-01990802, version 1



Olivier Pitois, Bernard François. Crystallization of condensation droplets on a liquid surface. Colloid and Polymer Science, Springer Verlag, 1999, 277, pp.574-578. ⟨hal-01990802⟩



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