Plasma treatment of polymers for surface and adhesion improvement
Different plasma treatments in a rf discharge of Ar, He, or N2 are used to etch, cross-link, and activate polymers like PC, PP, EPDM, PE, PS, PET and PMMA. Due to the numerous ways a plasma interacts with the polymer surface, the gas type and the plasma conditions must be adjusted on the polymer type to minimize degradation and aging effects. Wetting and friction properties of polymers can be improved by a simple plasma treatment, demonstrated on PC and EPDM, respectively. However, the deposition of ultra-thin layers by plasma enables the adjustment of wetting properties, using siloxane-based or fluorcarbon films, and further reduction of the friction coefficient, applying siloxane or a-C:H coatings. Nevertheless, the adhesion of plasma-deposited coatings should be regarded, which can be enhanced by depositing a graded layer.