The effect of isopropyl alcohol and non-ionic surfactant mixtures on the wetting of porous coated paper

Carl-Mikael Tåg (Corresponding Author), Maunu Toiviainen, Mikko Juuti, J.B. Rosenholm, K. Backfolk, P.A.C. Gane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


The influence of isopropyl alcohol and non-ionic surfactant solutions on aqueous droplet wetting behaviour on porous coated paper was determined. Paper coatings provide a micro- and nano-porous surface structure, which strictly speaking cannot be described in simple roughness terms as sub-surface lateral absorption directly impacts on the apparent contact angle. It is this very deviation from an idealised system that leads to novel wetting phenomena. Isopropyl alcohol and surfactant-based systems, both of which are commonly used in the printing industry, show differences in wetting behaviour, on both short and long timescales, with changes in the relative composition of the mixtures. Small variations of 0.1 wt% in surfactant concentration have a dramatic influence on the dynamic surface tension, and thus the wetting. It was observed that the wetting kinetics for isopropyl alcohol and surfactant solutions were different in terms of both wetting area and the penetration rate, even in cases where the dynamic surface tension of the solutions was kept the same. Different stages in the wetting and following drying processes could be observed with near infrared spectral imaging. In addition, the surfactant chemistries such as their degrees of hydrophilicity and molecular weights generated comparative differences in the wetting kinetics. The dominating factor affecting the wetting was, as expected, the solid–liquid interfacial energy defined on the practical porous substrate, which differed from the direct comparison with dynamic surface tension, thus exemplifying the deviation from idealised surface roughness behaviour when considering porous materials. An apparent “equivalent” surface roughness value for the porous material was determined, and it was seen that an increase in this equivalent parameter enhanced the rate of wetting behaviour with decreasing solution surface tension, and so also affected the wetting evolution. The wetting was enhanced by cavities in the coating layer, which were enlarged by the penetrating liquids.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-242
JournalTransport in Porous Media
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Fountain solution
  • imbibition
  • offset printing
  • porous media
  • spreading
  • wetting


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