Thermocapillary approaches to the deliberate patterning of polymers

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The phenomenon of thermocapillarity, the response of fluids to thermal gradients due to thermal alteration of their surface tension, was first reported over a century ago. Since then, research has focused generally on either the fundamentals or mitigation of this effect during the processing of materials. Only in the past two decades has the deliberate use of thermocapillary forces for the patterning of polymers been actively pursued, either for the ordering of internal structure or the introduction of topographic features. This review seeks to highlight this work and to identify directions for further investigation. In particular, while thermocapillary forces are often inextricably bound to other mechanisms, there are emerging directions in the deliberate coupling of forces to improve the capabilities of each mechanism. Further, the applications of thermocapillary patterning to polymer-nanoparticle composites has recently provided another promising route to active architectures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1649-1668
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Polymer Science, Part B: Polymer Physics
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry


  • block copolymers
  • self-assembly
  • surfaces
  • thin films


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