Order-Disorder Structural Transitions in Mazes Built by Evaporating Drops

Abstract : We show that the evaporation of surfactant solutions confined in quasi-two-dimensional porous media creates micron-sized labyrinthine patterns composing the walls of a centimeter-sized maze. These walls are made of solid deposits formed during drying via a sequence of individual Haines jumps occurring at the pore scale. We rationalize this process driven by simple iterative rules with a cellular automaton that acts as a maze generator. This model well describes the formation dynamics and final structure of an experimental maze as functions of the wettability heterogeneities of a porous medium and its geometry. Also, our findings unveil the crucial role of two geometric dimensionless quantities that control the structural order of a maze.
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Pascal Panizza, H. Algaba, M. Postic, Guillaume Raffy, Laurent Courbin, et al.. Order-Disorder Structural Transitions in Mazes Built by Evaporating Drops. Physical Review Letters, American Physical Society, 2018, 121 (7), pp.078002. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.078002⟩. ⟨hal-01879727⟩

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