Diffusiophoresis-Driven Stratification in Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive Films from Bimodal Waterborne Colloids

Toby R. Palmer, Hanne M. van der Kooij, Rohani Abu Bakar, Callum D. McAleese, Mathis Duewel, Katja Greiner, Pierre Couture, Matthew K. Sharpe, Joseph L. Keddie*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The uses of pressure-sensitive adhesives (PSAs) are wide ranging, with applications including labels, tapes, and graphics. To achieve good adhesion, a PSA must exhibit a balance of viscous and elastic properties. Previous research has found that a thin, elastic surface layer on top of a softer, dissipative layer resulted in greater tack adhesion compared with the single layers. Superior properties were achieved through a bilayer obtained via successive depositions, which consume energy and time. To achieve a multilayered structure via a single deposition process, we have stratified mixtures of waterborne colloidal polymer particles with two different sizes: large poly(acrylate) adhesive particles (ca. 660 nm in diameter) and small poly(butyl acrylate) (pBA) particles (ca. 100 nm). We used two types of pBA within the particles: either viscoelastic pBA without an added cross-linker or elastic pBA with a fully cross-linked network. Stratified surface layers of deuterium-labeled pBA particles with thicknesses of at least 1 μm were found via elastic recoil detection and qualitatively verified via the analysis of surface topography. The extent of stratification increased with the evaporation rate; films that were dried slowest exhibited no stratification. This result is consistent with a model of diffusiophoresis. When the elastic, cross-linked pBA particles were stratified at the surface, the tack adhesion properties made a transition from brittle failure to tacky. For pBA without an added cross-linker, all adhesives showed fibrillation during debonding, but the extent of fibrillation increased when the films were stratified. These results demonstrate that the PSA structure can be controlled through the processing conditions to achieve enhanced properties. This research will aid the future development of layered or graded single-deposition PSAs with designed adhesive properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1565-1576
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2023


  • diffusiophoresis
  • elastic recoil detection
  • ion beam analysis
  • latex
  • pressure-sensitive adhesives
  • stratification


Dive into the research topics of 'Diffusiophoresis-Driven Stratification in Pressure-Sensitive Adhesive Films from Bimodal Waterborne Colloids'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this