Applications of Plasma Treatment in the Automotive Industry

Plasma Treatment in the Automotive Industry
Plasma Treatment in the Automotive Industry

With the boom of customization and automation in the automotive industry, the need of finely tuned methods for producing high quality automobiles is also increasing. The automotive industry relies on a number of robust preconditioning processes for producing rugged and reliable automobiles. One of such processes is plasma treatment. Although automobile manufacturers have been using plasma treatment in the automotive industry for the surface treatment of automotive parts for years, plasma treatment can also be used for enhancing bonding characteristics of automobile parts.

What is Plasma Treatment?

Plasma refers to the fourth state of matter. According to the principles of chemical reactions, an element can change its state if enough energy is provided. When an element is in the gaseous state, extremely high energy is required to change the state from gas to plasma. Plasma consists of partially ionized atoms which possess high energy. When these excited particles come in contact with a metal surface they transfer their energy to the metal atoms, thus modifying the chemical and physical properties of the material. These modifications in the chemical properties make the material suitable for painting and adhesive bonding. This is the reason that plasma treatment is one of the most commonly used preconditioning processes in the automotive and aircraft industries.

How it Increases Surface Tension?

Automobiles are made of metals and plastic and both of these materials have considerably low surface tension. Low surface tension means less probability that the printing ink or paint will stick to the material surface. Plasma treatment in the automotive industry is used to increase the surface tension of plastic and metals and make them suitable for printing, bonding and painting.

Uses of Plasma Treatment in the Automotive Industry

Contrary to the normal perception that plasma treatment is only used for ink printing, this technology is used for several other purposes. Some of the many uses of plasma treatment in the automotive industry are:

Surface Treatment

Prior to the introduction of plasma, organic acids were used for the treatment of metal surfaces. But when acids react with metals they form nonvolatile by-products which accumulate on the surface of the metal and change its properties drastically. On the other hand, the by-products formed during the reaction between plasma and metals are mostly volatile. Thus plasma improves the surface tension of a material without changing its properties.

Surface Cleaning

Plasma is not only a surface tension modifier but it is also an excellent cleaning agent. Plasma treatment in the automobile industry is also used for cleaning automobile parts, as plasma has the ability to remove organic residues. This improves metal quality by reducing the risk of corrosion.

Parts Adhesion

Plasma treatment is not only used to increase the surface tension of different materials, but it can also improve the bond strength of different adhesives used in automobile manufacturing.
Unlike other surface treating methods, plasma treatment does not produce toxic by-products on reaction with different materials. Countless benefits of plasma treatment have made it one the most reliable methods of surface treatment in the automotive industry.