Convective Marangoni instabilities in drying polymer films may induce surface deformations, which persist in the dry film, deteriorating product performance. While theoretic stability analyses are abundantly available, experimental data are scarce. We report transient three-dimensional flow field measurements in thin poly(vinyl acetate)-methanol films, drying under ambient conditions with several films exhibiting short-scale Marangoni convection cells. An initial assessment of the upper limit of thermal and solutal Marangoni numbers reveals that the solutal effect is likely to be the dominant cause for the observed instabilities.
Keywords: Marangoni number; convective instability; flow field; particle tracking velocimetry; polymer film drying.