Evaporation stains: Suppressing the coffee-ring effect by contact angle hysteresis

Yueh Feng Li, Yu Jane Sheng, Heng Kwong Tsao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


A ring-shaped stain is frequently left on a substrate by a drying drop containing colloids as a result of contact line pinning and outward flow. In this work, however, different patterns are observed for drying drops containing small solutes or polymers on various hydrophilic substrates. Depending on the surface activity of solutes and the contact angle hysteresis (CAH) of substrates, the pattern of the evaporation stain varies, including a concentrated stain, a ringlike deposit, and a combined structure. For small surface-inactive solutes, the concentrated stain is formed on substrates with weak CAH, for example, copper sulfate solution on silica glass. On the contrary, a ringlike deposit is developed on substrates with strong CAH, for example, a copper sulfate solution on graphite. For surface-active solutes, however, the wetting property can be significantly altered and the ringlike stain is always visible, for example, Brij-35 solution on polycarbonate. For a mixture of surface-active and surface-inactive solutes, a combined pattern of a ringlike and concentrated stain can appear. For various polymer solutions on polycarbonate, similar results are observed. Concentrated stains are formed for weak CAH such as sodium polysulfonate, and ring-shaped patterns are developed for strong CAH such as poly(vinyl pyrrolidone). The stain pattern is actually determined by the competition between the time scales associated with contact line retreat and solute precipitation. The suppression of the coffee-ring effect can thus be acquired by the control of CAH.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7802-7811
Number of pages10
Issue number25
StatePublished - 25 Jun 2013


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