Langmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids

Anomalous sorption of supercritical fluids on polymer thin films.

PMID 17042538


Unusual sorption has been reported in thin polymer films exposed to near-critical CO2. When the supercritical fluid approaches the critical point, the film appears to thicken, but it is not clear whether the film swells or there is an adsorption layer on the film surface. A combination of the gradient theory of inhomogeneous systems and the Sanchez-Lacombe equation of state has been used to investigate this phenomenon. It is shown analytically that surface adsorption on an attractive surface is proportional to the compressibility of the fluid. We have also investigated numerically the sorption of supercritical CO2 on poly(dimethylsiloxane) and polyisobutylene, and supercritical 1,1-difluoroethane on polystyrene. By calculating the Gibbs adsorption and adsorption layer thickness of the supercritical fluids, we found in all cases (different substrates, different supercritical fluids) that maximum adsorption occurs when the supercritical fluid is near its compressibility maximum.