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Capillary flow as the cause of ring stains from dried liquid drops

Capillary flow as the cause of ring stains from dried liquid drops When a spilled drop of coffee dries on a solid surface, it leaves a dense, ring-like deposit along the perimeter (Fig. 1a). The coffee—initially dispersed over the entire drop—becomes concentrated into a tiny fraction of it. Such ring deposits are common wherever drops containing dispersed solids evaporate on a surface, and they influence processes such as printing, washing and coating 1,2,3,4,5 . Ring deposits also provide a potential means to write or deposit a fine pattern onto a surface. Here we ascribe the characteristic pattern of the deposition to a form of capillary flow in which pinning of the contact line of the drying drop ensures that liquid evaporating from the edge is replenished by liquid from the interior. The resulting outward flow can carry virtually all the dispersed material to the edge. This mechanism predicts a distinctive power-law growth of the ring mass with time—a law independent of the particular substrate, carrier fluid or deposited solids. We have verified this law by microscopic observations of colloidal fluids.[Figure not available: see fulltext.] http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nature Springer Journals

Capillary flow as the cause of ring stains from dried liquid drops

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References (22)

Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 1997 by Macmillan Magazines Ltd.
Subject
Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, multidisciplinary; Science, Humanities and Social Sciences, multidisciplinary; Science, multidisciplinary
ISSN
0028-0836
eISSN
1476-4687
DOI
10.1038/39827
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

When a spilled drop of coffee dries on a solid surface, it leaves a dense, ring-like deposit along the perimeter (Fig. 1a). The coffee—initially dispersed over the entire drop—becomes concentrated into a tiny fraction of it. Such ring deposits are common wherever drops containing dispersed solids evaporate on a surface, and they influence processes such as printing, washing and coating 1,2,3,4,5 . Ring deposits also provide a potential means to write or deposit a fine pattern onto a surface. Here we ascribe the characteristic pattern of the deposition to a form of capillary flow in which pinning of the contact line of the drying drop ensures that liquid evaporating from the edge is replenished by liquid from the interior. The resulting outward flow can carry virtually all the dispersed material to the edge. This mechanism predicts a distinctive power-law growth of the ring mass with time—a law independent of the particular substrate, carrier fluid or deposited solids. We have verified this law by microscopic observations of colloidal fluids.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Journal

NatureSpringer Journals

Published: Oct 23, 1997

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