Theory of Drying

George W. Scherer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

850 Scopus citations


This review examines the stages of drying, with the emphasis on the constant rate period (CRP), when the pores are full of liquid. It is during the CRP that most of the shrinkage occurs and the drying stresses rise to a maximum. We examine the forces that produce shrinkage and the mechanisms responsible for transport of liquid. By analyzing the interplay of fluid flow and shrinkage of the solid network, it is possible to calculate the pressure distribution in the liquid in the pores. The tension in the liquid is found to be greatest near the drying surface, resulting in greater compressive stresses on the network in that region. This produces differential shrinkage of the solid, which is the cause of cracking during drying. The probability of fracture is related to the size of the body, the rate of evaporation, and the strength of the network. A variety of strategies for avoiding fracture during drying are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-14
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1990

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry


  • cracking
  • drying
  • gels
  • models
  • shrinking


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