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Published October 1, 2005 | public
Journal Article Open

Experimental study of substrate roughness and surfactant effects on the Landau-Levich law


In this work we present an experimental study of deviations from the classical Landau-Levich law in the problem of dip coating. Among the examined causes leading to deviations are the nature of the liquid-gas and liquid-solid interfaces. The thickness of the coating film created by withdrawal of a plate from a bath was measured gravimetrically over a wide range of capillary numbers for both smooth and well-characterized rough substrates, and for clean and surfactant interface cases. In view of the dependence of the lifetime of a film on the type of liquid and substrate, and liquid-gas and liquid-solid interfaces, we characterized the range of measurability of the film thickness in the parameter space defined by the withdrawal capillary number, the surfactant concentration, and substrate roughness size. We then study experimentally the effect of a film thickening due to the presence of surfactants. Our recent theory based on a purely hydrodynamic role of the surface active substance suggests that there is a sorption-controlled coating regime in which Marangoni effects should lead to film thinning. However, our experiments conducted in this regime demonstrate film thickening, calling into question the conventional wisdom, which is that Marangoni stresses (as accounted by the conventional interfacial boundary conditions) lead to film thickening. Next we examine the effect of well-characterized substrate roughness on the coated film thickness, which also reveals its influence on wetting-related processes and an effective boundary condition at the wall. In particular, it is found that roughness results in a significant thickening of the film relative to that on a smooth substrate and a different power of capillary number than the classical Landau-Levich law.

Additional Information

©2005 American Institute of Physics. Received 25 November 2004; accepted 2 September 2005; published online 31 October 2005. The authors would like to express their gratitude to David Cinque for the help in conducting the preliminary experiments during his internship from École Polytechnique, Paris, and to Dave Bothman for help with the interferometric measurements. We also would like to acknowledge the helpful comments of anonymous referees that have led to a clearer presentation. This work was supported by the Office of Basic Energy Sciences, U. S. Department of Energy.


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