Understanding Spray Coating Process: Visual Observation of Impingement of Multiple Droplets on a Substrate

  • Jianchi Huang (黄渐持)
  • Zhihao Yuan (袁志豪)
  • Siyi Gao (高思易)
  • Jianshan Liao (廖健杉)
  • Morteza Eslamian


Spray coating is a facile deposition process with numerous existing and emerging applications. However, spray coating is a stochastic process comprising impingement of many droplets which upon impact on a heated substrate may dry or solidify individually or coalesce first to form a thin liquid film and then dry to yield a thin solid film. There is very limited knowledge on how this process occurs; therefore in this work, high speed imaging is used to visualize the spray coating process. Two model solutions including food-dye with properties like those of water, and poly (3, 4-ethylenedioxythiophene): poly (styrenesulfonate) (PEDOT:PSS), a polymeric solution, are sprayed onto permeable glossy paper and regular impermeable glass substrates. Substrates are kept at room temperature and 80 °C elevated temperature. In some cases, a vertical ultrasonic vibration is imposed on the substrate to study its effect on the coating process. It is observed that the spray coating process is highly random and stochastic. A higher substrate temperature results in a better coating process in that a more uniform and defect-free coating forms. Imposed vibration in the case of glossy paper substrates results in better droplet spreading and more uniform coating. The results also show that under the conditions of these experiments, impinged droplets dry individually or as islands of multiple coalesced droplets to form a coating. In other words, at used spray flow rate and spray droplet size, a continuous thin liquid film does not form prior to drying even at room temperature. Further systematic studies and high magnification lenses are required to visualize and understand the details of the process.

Key words

spray coating visual observation droplet impact 

CLC number

TB 43 


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Copyright information

© Shanghai Jiaotong University and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jianchi Huang (黄渐持)
    • 1
  • Zhihao Yuan (袁志豪)
    • 1
  • Siyi Gao (高思易)
    • 1
  • Jianshan Liao (廖健杉)
    • 1
  • Morteza Eslamian
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Michigan - Shanghai Jiao Tong University Joint InstituteShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

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