Automatic detection of contact lines in slot coating flows



Slot coating is a versatile method used to manufacture thin films at high speed. The success of the method lies in controlling a coating flow surrounded by upstream and downstream menisci. The meniscus edges that are in contact with either the die lips or the substrate surfaces are called contact lines. Visualizations of such lines are important in coating flow research because their shapes and locations are sensitive to operating conditions. In this study, we propose a robust image analysis algorithm for images acquired from flow visualizations. The images are dissected into three regions with different characteristics that need to be treated using different pre-processing techniques. A standard optimal edge detector is then sufficient to capture the contact lines, and post-processing steps can be simplified. We also highlight two applications of the proposed algorithm: coating windows, and transient behaviors under external disturbances. © 2017 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 63: 2440–2450, 2017