425668 Domain Expansion Dynamics in Stratifying Foam Films: Experiments and Theory

Tuesday, November 10, 2015: 9:15 AM
150A/B (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Vivek Sharma, Yiran Zhang and Subinuer Yilixiati, Chemical Engineering, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

The stability, rheology and applications of foams, emulsions and colloidal sols depend on the hydrodynamics and thermodynamics of thin liquid films that separate bubbles, drops and particles respectively. Thin liquid films containing micelles, colloidal particles, liquid crystals or polyelectrolyte–surfactant mixtures exhibit step-wise thinning or stratification, often attributed to the layer-by-layer removal of the aforementioned supramolecular structures. Stratification proceeds through emergence and growth of thinner circular domains within a thicker film, and the domain expansion dynamics are the focus of this study. Domain and associated thickness variation in foam films made from sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) micellar solutions are examined using a Scheludko-type cell with a novel technique we call Interferometry Digital Imaging Optical Microscopy (IDIOM). Below 100 nm, stratification and drainage cause a thickness-dependent variation in reflected light intensity, visualized as progressively darker shades of gray. We show that the domain expansion dynamics exhibit two distinct growth regimes with characteristic scaling laws. Initially, the radius of the isolated domains grows with square root time, and the expansion rate can be characterized by an apparent diffusion constant. In contrast, after a section of the expanding domain coalesces with the Plateau border, the contact line between domain and the surrounding thicker region moves a constant velocity. We show that a similar transition from a constant diffusivity to a constant velocity regime is also realized when a topological instability occurs at the contact line between the growing thinner isolated domain and the surrounding thicker film. Though several studies have focused on the expansion dynamics of isolated domains that exhibit a diffusion-like scaling, the change in expansion kinetics observed after domains contact with the Plateau border has not been reported and analyzed before.

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