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Plasma surface treatment- Plasma surface modification

Plasma surface treatment is:

The science of modifying the surface of a materials using Plasma.
In this case we are discussing low pressure plasma surface treatment.
The goal may be decorative or functional material surface, the path to this goal may involve several steps.
These steps can be programed to run consecutively without opening the chamber.

Video of plasma surface treatment

Typical steps in the process of plasma surface modification may be:

  1. Plasma Cleaning

    Any unwanted surface contamination, for example Mold release agents, lubrication oils or oxidization is removed to ensure success and long levity of the next stages.

    More information on Plasma cleaning

  2. Plasma Etching

    Many high-performance polymers have low surface energy plasma limiting the ability of subsequent process to bond or wet their surface. Plasma etching increases the surface are making more anchor points available for subsequent treatments. Some molecules are removed to increase the surface energy of the product.

  3. Plasma coating

    The reverse of plasma cleaning.
    Here material is introduced to the plasma in the form of a sacrificial target.
    The material removed from the target is deposited on the product being treated.
    Or a gas that is broken down and its component parts are deposited on the product being coated.
    Often plasma coating is a final stage after plasma cleaning, and or etching.
    The first stages ensure a good preparation for the final coating.
    The final result may be decorative or functional.

    This is the stage at which the desired effect is applied to the surface.

    For example:

    • Low or high friction
    • Abrasion resistance
    • Hydrophobic/Hydrophilic properties
    • Increase surface energy for bonding
    • Plasma Priming. The newly etched surfce may not be stable in UV or temperature and will return to its low energy state.
      Plasma priming in effect locks and protects the surface whilst further improving the adhesion or wetting properties.