An overview of the transport of liquid molecules through structured polymer films, barriers and composites – Experiments correlated to structure-based simulations
Films engineered to control the transport of liquids are widely used through society. Examples include barriers in packaging, wound care products, and controlled release coatings in pharmaceutics. When observed at the macroscopic scale such films commonly appear homogeneous, however, a closer look reveals a complex nano- and microstructure that together with the chemical properties of the different domains control the transport properties. In this review we compare and discuss macroscopic transport properties, measured using the straightforward, yet highly powerful technique “modified Ussing chambers”, also denoted side-by-side diffusion cells, for a wide range of structured polymer films and composites. We also discuss and compare the macroscopic observations and conclusions on materials properties with that of lattice Boltzmann simulations of transport properties based on underlying material structure and chemistry. The survey of the field: (i) highlights the use and power of modified Ussing Chambers for determining liquid transport properties of polymer films, (ii) demonstrates the predictability in both directions between macroscopic observations of transport using modified Ussing chambers and structure-based simulations, and (iii) provides experimental and theoretical insights regarding the transport-determining properties of structured polymer films and composites.