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Plasma Technology

Functional nano-coatings
Plasma clean
Improved wettability and adhesion

Plasma Technology

Functional nano-coatings
Plasma clean
Improved wettability and adhesion

What is Plasma Treatment?

Plasma treatment is used to clean and activate surfaces to improve their adhesion characteristics. Plasma cleaning removes trace organic contamination from the surface, which would otherwise prevent good adhesion. At the same time, plasma treatment activates the surface and turns it from a low to a high surface energy state so that it becomes easily wettable by adhesives, paint, glue etc. Plasma treatment solves problems of poor adhesion in many industries.

  • How does plasma treatment work?

    How does plasma treatment work?

    Plasma treatments are used to alter the surface properties of a wide range of materials to make them easier to bond, glue and paint. By treating parts we both clean and activate the surface, improving their adhesion characteristics.

    It’s useful to start by defining what a plasma is. Solid, liquid and gas are the three states of matter we are all familiar with. We can move between the states by adding or removing energy (e.g. heating/cooling). If we continue to add enough energy, gas molecules will become ionised (lose one or more electrons) and so carry a net positive charge. If enough molecules are ionised to affect the overall electrical characteristics of the gas the result is called a plasma. Plasmas are, therefore, quite rightly, often referred to as the fourth state of matter.

  • Unique properties for widespread applications.

    Plasma treatment is a versatile technique that can improve adhesion and modify surface properties for various applications. It can treat different materials and achieve precise surface modification, cleaning, bonding, and coating. Plasma treatment has been a game-changer in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and biomedical research. With more advanced coating treatments, plasma surface functionalisation can perform material engineering, which leads to enhanced performance, such as improved wear resistance, increased corrosion protection, and enhanced biocompatibility in biomedical implants.

  • How does the plasma process work?

    Plasma treatment can be performed in an evacuated enclosure or chamber. The air is pumped out and a gas is allowed to flow in at low pressure before energy in the form of electrical power is applied. The atmospheric plasma process, in contrast to the vacuum chamber method, operates at ambient pressure, eliminating the need for an evacuated enclosure. The gas used in atmospheric plasma treatment is typically air or other reactive gases. By applying electrical power to the gas, it becomes ionised, generating a plasma jet that can be directed onto the material surface. It’s important to note that all plasma treatments are a low-temperature process, meaning that heat sensitive materials can be processed quite readily.

Which treatment is most suitable?

When it comes to exploring plasma treatments, its natural to wonder which option is most suitable for your needs. With various types of plasma treatments available, determining the ideal one can be a challenging decision. Factors such as your desired outcomes, materials compatibility and current process play a crucial role in identifiying the most appropriate treatment. Let's delve into the different types of plasma treatments and explore the factors that can guide you in selecting the treatment that best aligns with your requirements.

  • Plasma Clean

    Plasma Clean

    What is plasma cleaning?

    Plasma cleaning is a proven, effective, economical and environmentally safe method for critical surface preparation. Plasma cleaning with eliminates natural and technical oils and grease at the nano-scale and reduces contamination up to 6 fold when compared with traditional wet cleaning methods, including solvent cleaning residues themselves. Plasma cleaning produces a pristine surface, ready for bonding or further processing, without any harmful waste material.

    How does plasma cleaning work?

    Ultra-violet light generated in the plasma is very effective in breaking most organic bonds of surface contaminants. This helps to break apart oils and grease. A second cleaning action is carried out by the energetic oxygen species created in the plasma. These species react with organic contaminants to form mainly water and carbon dioxide which are continuously removed (pumped away) from the chamber during processing.

    If the part to be plasma cleaned consists of easily oxidised materials such as silver or copper, inert gases such as argon or helium are used instead. The plasma activated atoms and ions behave like a molecular sandblast and can break down organic contaminants. These contaminants are again vaporised and evacuated from the chamber during processing.

    What is plasma cleaning suitable for?

    • hyper-fine cleaning of metal surfaces
    • surface preparation of plastics &amp elastomers
    • surface preparation and cleaning of ophthalmic and general glass products
    • ceramics
    • removing oxidation from surfaces
  • Improved wettability and adhesion.

    Improved wettability and adhesion

    What is plasma surface activation?

    Plasma surface activation is effective at altering the surface of a polymer by attaching polar (in this case, oxygen containing) chemical groups to it. Many polymers, in particular, polyolefins such as polyethylene and polypropylene, are chemically inert and cannot bond easily to other materials, displaying poor adhesion with inks, paint and glues. The reason for this is the absence of polar and reactive functional groups in their structure.

    Plasma surface activation makes many polymers receptive to bonding agents and coatings. Oxygen is usually used as the process gas, however, many plasma activations can also be carried out with just ambient air. Parts remain active for a few minutes up to several months, depending on the particular material that has been plasma treated. Polypropylene for example can still be reprocessed several weeks after treatment.

    How does plasma surface activation work?

    UV radiation and active oxygen species from the plasma break up separating agents, silicones and oils from the surface. These are pumped away by the vacuum system. Active oxygen species (radicals) from the plasma bind to active surface sites all over the material, creating a surface that is highly ‘active’ to bonding agents.

    What is plasma surface activation suitable for?

    • general plastics and rubber
    • medical plastics
    • consumer electronics plastics
    • automotive components
    • aerospace components
  • Functional nano-coatings

    Functional nano-coatings

    What is plasma coating?

    In plasma coating a nano-scale polymer layer is formed over the entire surface area of an object placed in the plasma. The plasma coating process takes just a few minutes. The coating produced is typically less than 1/100th thickness of a human hair, colourless, odourless and doesn’t affect the look or feel of the material in any way. It is a permanent coating too, being bound to the material surface on an atomic scale.

    Plasma coatings are one of the most exciting areas of plasma technology, offering enormous potential to enhance a material’s function and value over a wide range of applications. They deliver two main categories of surface property: totally liquid (water & oil) repellent, or totally wettable.

    How does plasma coating work?

    Liquid monomers are introduced with the plasma feed gas. Monomers are small molecules which will, under the correct conditions, bond together to form polymers. Plasmas create the right conditions at the surface of the material for this to happen both quickly and efficiently. Different monomers are used to produce permanently hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces.

    What are plasma coatings suitable for?

    • general plastics and rubber
    • performance textiles
    • filtration media
    • metals, glass, ceramics and composites
    • medical plastics
    • consumer electronics plastics
    • automotive components
    • aerospace components

     

     

     

  • Plasma Clean

    Plasma Clean

    What is plasma cleaning?

    Plasma cleaning is a proven, effective, economical and environmentally safe method for critical surface preparation. Plasma cleaning with eliminates natural and technical oils and grease at the nano-scale and reduces contamination up to 6 fold when compared with traditional wet cleaning methods, including solvent cleaning residues themselves. Plasma cleaning produces a pristine surface, ready for bonding or further processing, without any harmful waste material.

    How does plasma cleaning work?

    Ultra-violet light generated in the plasma is very effective in breaking most organic bonds of surface contaminants. This helps to break apart oils and grease. A second cleaning action is carried out by the energetic oxygen species created in the plasma. These species react with organic contaminants to form mainly water and carbon dioxide which are continuously removed (pumped away) from the chamber during processing.

    If the part to be plasma cleaned consists of easily oxidised materials such as silver or copper, inert gases such as argon or helium are used instead. The plasma activated atoms and ions behave like a molecular sandblast and can break down organic contaminants. These contaminants are again vaporized and evacuated from the chamber during processing.

    What is plasma cleaning suitable for?

    • hyper-fine cleaning of metal surfaces
    • surface preparation of plastics &amp elastomers
    • surface preparation and cleaning of ophthalmic and general glass products
    • ceramics
    • removing oxidation from surfaces
  • Improved wettability & adhesion.

    Improved wettability and adhesion

    What is plasma surface activation?

    Plasma surface activation is effective at altering the surface of a polymer by attaching polar (in this case, oxygen containing) chemical groups to it. Many polymers, in particular, polyolefins such as polyethylene and polypropylene, are chemically inert and cannot bond easily to other materials, displaying poor adhesion with inks, paint and glues. The reason for this is the absence of polar and reactive functional groups in their structure.

    Plasma surface activation makes many polymers receptive to bonding agents and coatings. Oxygen is usually used as the process gas, however, many plasma activations can also be carried out with just ambient air. Parts remain active for a few minutes up to several months, depending on the particular material that has been plasma treated. Polypropylene for example can still be reprocessed several weeks after treatment.

    How does plasma surface activation work?

    UV radiation and active oxygen species from the plasma break up separating agents, silicones and oils from the surface. These are pumped away by the vacuum system. Active oxygen species (radicals) from the plasma bind to active surface sites all over the material, creating a surface that is highly ‘active’ to bonding agents.

    What is plasma surface activation suitable for?

    • general plastics and rubber
    • medical plastics
    • consumer electronics plastics
    • automotive components
    • aerospace components
  • Functional nano-coatings

    Functional nano-coatings

    What is plasma coating?

    In plasma coating a nano-scale polymer layer is formed over the entire surface area of an object placed in the plasma. The plasma coating process takes just a few minutes. The coating produced is typically less than 1/100th thickness of a human hair, colourless, odourless and doesn’t affect the look or feel of the material in any way. It is a permanent coating too, being bound to the material surface on an atomic scale.

    Plasma coatings are one of the most exciting areas of plasma technology, offering enormous potential to enhance a material’s function and value over a wide range of applications. They deliver two main categories of surface property: totally liquid (water & oil) repellent, or totally wettable.

    How does plasma coating work?

    Liquid monomers are introduced with the plasma feed gas. Monomers are small molecules which will, under the correct conditions, bond together to form polymers. Plasmas create the right conditions at the surface of the material for this to happen both quickly and efficiently. Different monomers are used to produce permanently hydrophobic and hydrophilic surfaces.

    What are plasma coatings suitable for?

    • general plastics and rubber
    • performance textiles
    • filtration media
    • metals, glass, ceramics and composites
    • medical plastics
    • consumer electronics plastics
    • automotive components
    • aerospace components

     

     

     

Do you still have questions?

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