Bubble entrapment and escape from sprayed paint films

A model paint consisting of resin dissolved in butanol was sprayed onto horizontal glass substrates to form films varying from 100 μm to 450 μm in thickness.

Bubbles were observed to escape from both upward and downwards facing surfaces. Source: Claudia Hautumm/pixelio.de -

The substrates were photographed at 5 s intervals and image analysis software used to measure the number, diameter and velocity of air bubbles trapped in the paint layer. Painted substrates were weighed to determine the rate of solvent evaporation.

Large bubbles escape faster than small bubbles

Bubbles escaped from the paint in 100–900 s, the time increasing with paint thickness. The Sauter mean diameter of bubbles in films less than 300 μm in thickness decreased with time because larger bubbles escaped faster than small bubbles, while the mean diameter of bubbles in a 450 μm thick layer increased due to bubble coalescence. Bubble velocities due to movement of the liquid increased with paint thickness and reached 30 μm/s. Bubbles were observed to escape from both upward and downwards facing surfaces. Concentration gradients due to solvent evaporation in a paint film create surface tension variations that drive Marangoni flows, which bring bubbles to the paint surface. An analytical one-dimensional model of solvent diffusion was used to calculate solvent concentration variations in the paint film and the Marangoni number.

The study is published in: Progress in Organic Coatings, Volume 97, August 2016, Pages 153–165

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