Water Water Everywhere

A film of soft material can be stabilized by capping with layers of a more rigid material. Freely-standing or unsupported films are not supported on a solid substrate, but are suspended in air. In freely-standing trilayer films of this kind, lateral morphology is formed spontaneously due to a balance of energy. Long range van der Waal’s forces favour the capping layers coming together, but must overcome the energy required to bend the rigid films. In these images, films of polyisoprene are capped with polystyrene and heated, causing buckling and lateral morphology. In order to create these trilayer films, the layers are floated onto the surface of water and captured onto a steel washer. The trilayer is then allowed to dry, prior to being heated and observed with a BX60 Optical Microscope. In this case, the film had not dried fully, and the water evaporated onto the cover slip of the sample holder, resulting in an image of condensed water droplets at 50x magnification.

Jason Thomas
University of Guelph
Category 2 (Open)

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