Relaxing Non-equilibrated Polymers in Thin Films at Temperatures Slightly Above the Glass Transition
Mithun Chowdhury, Samer Al Akhrass, Falko Ziebert, Günter Reiter. Journal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics 55 (2017) 515–523
We have studied the dewetting process of thin polystyrene films on nonwettable substrates in the viscoelastic regime slightly above the glass transition temperature. The evolution of the shape of the dewetting rim for varying film thickness, molecular weights and dewetting temperatures allowed us to determine the relaxation rates of residual stresses, which originated from nonequilibrated polymer chain conformations formed during film preparation by spin-coating. For long chain polymers, we found rates notably faster than the longest bulk relaxation processes, highly independent of molecular weight and temperature. Our study demonstrates that dewetting is a powerful tool for sensitive characterization of nonequilibrium properties of thin polymer films.