To work with materials and unleash their true potential, almost every industry needs to activate their surface to make them more reactive. The increase in the material’s reactivity makes it easier to work with and allows it to be used more effectively. Plasma is the fourth state of matter and is used in almost all industries as plasma technology is one of the most economical methods of surface treatment.
How does plasma activate surfaces?
Plasma state is achieved when additional energy is added to gaseous ions. When plasma comes into contact with the surfaces of polymers, it alters the surface by attaching functional or polar groups to it. The addition of polar or functional groups makes the materials reactive as these groups easily combine and react with other chemical groups. Once the properties of the material are altered, they can be used for a variety of different purposes.
The activation process primarily uses oxygen as a catalyst; however, some materials can react with plasma in open air, without the need of providing additional oxygen for the reaction.
What are the common types of plasma driven surface treatments?
- Plasma surface treatments can be used for the following industrial treatments of materials:
- Plasma Driven Surface Activation: Plasma treatments used to activate surfaces
- Plasma Cleaning: Plasma is used to clean and prepare surfaces for various manufacturing processes
- Plasma Coating: During plasma coating, an object is bombarded with plasma to allow a layer of polymers to form over the object.
- Plasma Bonding: Plasma is used to lower the energy needed to bond two materials together.
- Plasma Surface Modifications: Plasma treatments can be used to generate new properties of materials by activation, conditioning, and functionalization.
- Plasma Ashing: Plasma ashing is the removal of carbon from products during manufacturing or cleaning processes.
- Reactive Ion Etching: In this process, plasma treatments etch the surfaces which have already been treated.
- Plasma Functionalization: This process improves the functions of materials, especially adhesiveness, bonding, and printing.
What makes plasma ideal for surface treatment?
There are several factors that make plasma ideal for surface treatments. For one, it works on a wide range of materials which means that it can be used on multiple materials for multiple purposes. It also works uniformly on all surfaces and efficiently gives high quality results.
Apart from that, it is cheaper to use, store and maintain and has a fast treatment time, so plasma driven surface treatments are useful in the sense that they work well, and save both time and money.