Spinodal Decomposition in a Model Colloid-Polymer Mixture in Microgravity
We study phase separation in a deeply quenched colloid-polymer mixture in microgravity on the International Space Station using small-angle light scattering and direct imaging. We observe a clear crossover from early-stage spinodal decomposition to late-stage, interfacial-tension-driven coarsening. Data acquired over 5 orders of magnitude in time show more than 3 orders of magnitude increase in domain size, following nearly the same evolution as that in binary liquid mixtures. The late-stage growth approaches the expected linear growth rate quite slowly.