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Indentation de films élastiques complexes par des sondes souples

Abstract : Understanding how stresses are transmitted to deformable interfaces is a key-point in numerous issues having everyday life applications which use a thin polymer film as an interfacial layer. Still, characterizing the mechanical properties of such elastic films remains a challenge because the usual employed techniques are destructive of the surface and because of the complexity of the associated analysis. In this work, we study the mechanical response of two types of home-made model systems using two different characterization techniques. The first system – studied with a JKR test- is composed of reticulated elastomeric films of micrometric thickness (5 to 100 µm) and stuck to a silicon wafer. We analyse the experimental data with E.Barthel’s recently published semi-analytical model in order to determine the elastic modulus of each indented film and see if the thickness of the film had any influence on its value. We show that this model is in a quantitatively good agreement with our data but that we only have a 35% accuracy on the elastic modulus values thanks to the set-up. The second system we studied consists in polymer brushes end-grafted onto the surface of silicon wafers and of nanometric thickness. To characterize the mechanical response of those brushes and the effect of both their molecular organization and ingredients on their ability to transmit stresses at the interface, we use a surface force apparatus in the dynamic mode as a soft fluid indenter. We use a millimetric sphere to create a liquid flow of the solvent in which the brushes are immerged and swollen. This flow induces hydrodynamic forces whose range we can control by varying the excitation frequency and the distance of approach. We obtain the following results : first with the static response we checked that the response of the polymer layers are well-described by the Alexander-de Gennes approximation. In the dynamical mode, when the sphere is far from the solid surface, we showed that the dissipative response was well-described by the Reynolds force. Thanks to those results, we succeeded in localizing the limit of penetration of the liquid flow inside the brushes at one third of the thickness of the swollen brush; second, when the brushes are compressed, we showed that the existing models (Fredrickson & Pincus) are insufficient to explain the dynamic responses of the brushes. This disagreement is explained by experiments we performed on the bare solid substrate, which show for the first time, the deformation of the substrate due to the liquid. Thus, the mechanical response of the underlying substrate has to be taken into account in the analysis of the nanorheological results on the brushes even though the substrate is much stiffer than the polymer layers. Finally, we present how we fabricated hydrophobic (silanized) surfaces in order to study the sliding of simple liquids at the wall with the same surface force apparatus.
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Emmanuelle Martinot. Indentation de films élastiques complexes par des sondes souples. Autre [cond-mat.other]. Université Paris Sud - Paris XI, 2012. Français. ⟨NNT : 2012PA112386⟩. ⟨tel-00786422⟩

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