Determining the Self-Limiting Electrospray Deposition Compositional Limits for Mechanically Tunable Polymer Composites

09 November 2021, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Electrospray deposition (ESD) is a versatile micro/nano coating technology that utilizes the competition between surface charge of a droplet and its surface tension to create monodisperse generations of micro/nano droplets. ESD can deposit uniform thin films by including dilute solutes in these droplets. One mode of ESD, self-limiting electrospray deposition (SLED), has been shown to exist when glassy polymers are sprayed in a volatile solvent below the polymer glass transition temperature (Tg). This leads to charge accumulation on the coating surface that slows the growth of the film thickness. Since solutes can be easily blended in dilute ESD solutions, we investigate the SLED limits of self-limiting and non-self-limiting solute blends. As a motivating application, we focus on mechanical properties of the film. Specifically, we blend self-limiting polystyrene (PS) and SU-8 epoxy resin with different non-self-limiting mechanical modifiers, such as plasticizers and curing agents. To characterize the resulting morphologies and mechanical properties, we employ scanning electron microscopy and nanoindentation of as received and smoothed films. The results illustrate the formation of composited polymers that exhibit self-limiting ability by SLED, depending on the interaction between the two components. Further, mechanical properties could be effectively fine-tuned within these compositional ranges. This signifies the 3D coating capabilities through SLED can be implemented incorporating additional functionalities and properties beyond the base matrix.


Electrospray deposition

Supplementary materials

Supporting Information
Sample parameter table and photographs of select samples.


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