The Plasma Surface Treatment Process
Discover the power of plasma surface treatment to significantly improve the adhesion of adhesives, inks, and paints to material surfaces. This versatile process not only enhances bonding but also effectively cleans and activates surfaces.
Plasma surface treatment, also known as in-air and atmospheric plasma, works wonders on a wide variety of materials including polymers, rubber, metals, glass, ceramics, and paperboard. By modifying the molecules of these difficult to bond materials, plasma treatment achieves better adhesion without causing any damage to the surface.
Atmospheric plasma is formed by combining reactive gas molecules and an electric field. This technology utilizes high voltage electrodes to charge surrounding blown gas molecules, generating a strongly ionized field that is directed towards a targeted surface. This ionized air stream has a thermal effect which interacts with the substrate, breaking hydrogen bonds and introducing oxygen to recreate the surface’s chemical properties. The atmospheric plasma treater process enhances material reactions, leading to improved wettability, stronger bonding traits, micro-cleaned surfaces, and eliminates the risk of undesired treatment on the opposite side.
Plasma treatment is ideal for a wide range of materials and geometries , including plastic parts, rubber profiles, coated paperboard, foam, thin film and solid sheets. It finds applications in various industrial sectors such as medical, automotive, aerospace, packaging, converting, and polymer film production.
Surface activation can be measured by using a tensiometer which assesses the contact angle of a water droplet both before and after surface treatment. The lower the contact angle the better the adhesion. Another useful tool that quickly reads the contact angle is an automated surface analyzer. Another method to determine the surface tension and wettability of a substrate involves dyne level. Dyne level is a measurement of surface energy in energy units referred to as dynes/cm and is measured with dyne ink (see tabs to the left). Learn more about dyne level by reading our blog article What is Dyne Level?
Plasma Advantages and Uses
Plasma has proven to be highly effective in removing impurities, contaminants, residue, and organic compounds, making it ideal for surface cleaning. This process, known as micro cleaning or etching, not only improves adhesion but also offers rapid, effective, cost-efficient, and environmentally safe surface activation through plasma treatment.
Another advantage of atmospheric plasma is that it can be used in a wide range of applications, including conductive, semi-conductive, and non-conductive materials. Atmospheric plasma systems do not use batch processing in a vacuum chamber but operate in high-speed production lines.
Some useful applications for plasma treatment include:
- Improving the adhesion of paint or printing on plastic parts, cables, and pipes
- Improving bonding on polymer extrusion and coating lines
- Preparing rubber profiles for printing or coating
- Enhancing wettability of aluminum and metal surfaces through pretreatment
- Strengthening glue-lines on cardboard containers
- Preparing silicone foam for adhesive applications
- Enhancing the adhesion of paint and ink on composite boards
Learn more about 3DT’s superior plasma treatment systems here. Then let’s discuss your application. Please call 1-262-253-6700 or email us at sales@3DTLLC.com.