Surface Treating Effectiveness

Dec 12th, 2008 | By | Category: Evaluating Surface Performance

How can you determine if surface treatment provides the results you desire? Ideally you could integrate a plasma treating solution into your production line and see if the results meet your quality control standards. In most cases this is not practical, so laboratory treatment trials are your next best option.

There are several off-line tests that you can do as part of your technology evaluation and on-going quality control processes. Developing your own specific protocols is the best way to determine if plasma treating produces the results you require. Below is information on a number of standard surface evaluation techniques.

A basic understanding of surface energy and surface tension will be helpful in interpreting the results of any surface analysis process.

Simple surface energy measurements begin with dyne pen and dyne solution test methods. These tests are easy to perform, dyne solutions are readily available and the tests provide an indication in changes of surface energy. A more advanced and accurate test is contact angle measurement, however this test requires special equipment.

Peel adhesion strength tests use calibrated pressure sensitive tapes to measure the bond strength of a surface. This test requires a device that can accurately and precisely measure the amount of force that is required to pull the tape.

More advanced tests include X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) which is a quantitative spectroscopic technique that measures the elemental composition of the elements that exist within a material. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) which is an analytical tool used to measure nanoscale differences in modulus and height of materials in the nanoscale size range. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) scans surfaces with a high-energy beam of electrons to create a variety of signals which reveal topography data.

As a general rule the effects of surface treatment decrease over time. This should be taken into consideration when developing your testing protocols. It is desirable to convert treated surfaces immediately after pretreatment. When this is not possible treatment technologies with more longevity such as flame plasma and variable chemistry atmospheric plasma maybe required.

You can learn which surface treatment technology is best for your application with a free laboratory trial comparing the effectiveness of air plasma, flame plasma and atmospheric plasma. Please follow the links for more information on testing atmospheric plasma treatment of webs and the plasma treatment of objects.

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