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When droplets dry out, the substances in them collect in a ring. © RUB, Kramer
Nicolas Plumeré, Li Huaiguang and Thomas Happe outsmarted the coffee ring effect. © RUB, Kramer

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Chem. Sci.: Researchers use a trick to prevent a ring from forming when droplets dry. This has far-reaching consequences.

If substances dissolved in water are sprayed onto a surface and allowed to dry, the deposits often form a ring. This is because the substances migrate to the edge of the water droplets during drying. Homogeneous surface coatings with functional materials have therefore been challenging until now. Using a trick, researchers led by Professor Nicolas Plumeré and Professor Thomas Happe from Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) have now succeeded in producing uniform coatings. They provided the molecules dissolved in the water with a small sulphur group that forces the molecules to link to each other when they come into contact with oxygen. They thus form an even layer after drying. The researchers report on this in the renowned journal Chemical Science, published in advance online on 23rd August 2018.

 

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