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Stable Freestanding Thin Films of Copolymer Melts Far from the Glass Transition

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posted on 17.12.2015, 10:19 by T. Gaillard, C. Poulard, T. Voisin, C. Honorez, P. Davidson, W. Drenckhan, M. Roché
Thin polymer films have attracted attention because of both their broad range of applications and of the fundamental questions they raise regarding the dynamic response of confined polymers. These films are unstable if the temperature is above their glass transition temperature Tg. Here, we describe freestanding thin films of centimetric dimensions made of a comb copolymer melt far from its glass transition that are stable for more than a day. These long lifetimes allowed us to characterize the drainage dynamics and the thickness profile of the films. Stratified regions appear as the film drains. We have evidence that the stability, thinning dynamics, and thickness profile of the films result from structural forces in the melt. Understanding the key mechanisms behind our observations may lead to new developments in polymeric thin films, foams, and emulsions without the use of stabilizing agents.