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Stratification Dynamics in Drying Colloidal Mixtures

Stratification in evaporating colloidal mixture

Drying colloidal mixtures can undergo a spontaneous, nonequilibrium vertical separation (stratification) into layers enriched in particles of a specific size, an effect which can be exploited to create functional coatings. Counterintuitively, at fast drying rates smaller colloids migrate to the top of the film, while big colloids are pushed to the bottom. Using implicit-solvent molecular dynamics simulations, we showed how the size of this layer depends on the particle size ratio and the drying rate, and proposed a model based on dynamical density functional theory to explain the observed phenomena.

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