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Tutorial Course Descriptions

Detailed Syllabus

C-314 Plasma Modification of Polymer Materials and Plasma Web Treatment

Plasma treatments are used in the web coating and roll conversion industries to tailor polymer surfaces while preserving their bulk properties. This tutorial is intended for engineers, scientists, and technicians who would like to gain a better understanding of the influence of plasma process factors on treatment performance, as well as the practical issues related to process robustness, process speed, and ease of scale-up. While much of the tutorial deals with treatment of polymer webs, the key concepts presented are applicable to polymer surfaces in general and plasma treatment of materials in general.

 

Topical Outline:
  • A basic introduction to plasmas including discussion of species distributions, the structure of glow-discharge plasmas, electrical breakdown of gases, and mechanisms of sustaining a plasma.
  • Discussion of industrial applications of plasmas for polymer surface modification including wettability control & printing, bonding & adhesion, nucleation of films, control of biointeraction with surfaces, and control of gas-film interactions.
  • Description of a variety of plasma treatment technologies and the importance of controlling the industrial treatment environment.
  • The interaction of plasmas with polymer surfaces.
  • The basics of polymer surface analysis along with examples of surface analytical techniques applied to plasma treated polymers including X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, static secondary ion mass spectrometry, and high-resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy. Also included is discussion of adhesion, wetability, etc.
  • Practical aspects of plasma web treatment including treatment dose, process factors and their roles, practical treatment efficiency, process verification, and process stability issues.
  • Mechanisms of surface modification in the context of a site balance model.
Course Details:

Plasma treatments are used in the web coating and roll conversion industries to tailor polymer surfaces while preserving their bulk properties.  This tutorial is intended for engineers, scientists, and technicians who would like to gain a better understanding of the influence of plasma web treatment process factors on treatment performance, as well as the practical issues related to process robustness, process speed, and ease of scale-up.

The tutorial begins with a discussion of industrial applications of plasmas for polymer surface modification including wettability control & printing, bonding & adhesion, nucleation of films, control of biointeraction with surfaces, and  control gas-film interactions.  A variety of plasma treatment technologies are described, and the importance of controlling the industrial treatment environment is discussed.

A basic introduction to plasmas is presented, including discussion of species distributions, the structure of glow-discharge plasmas, electrical breakdown of gases, and mechanisms of sustaining a plasma.  Atmospheric pressure discharges are also discussed.  The basic concepts of plasmas are applied to strategies for process scale-up, the object of such strategies being to preserve the relevant species fluxes and energy distributions.  Scale-up with respect to geometry and line speed are discussed.  Process maintenance issues and plasma diagnostic techniques are also discussed.

The interaction of plasmas with polymer surfaces is a central component of this tutorial.  The basics of polymer surface analysis are presented along with examples of surface analytical techniques applied to plasma treated polymers.  X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, static secondary ion mass spectrometry, and high-resolution electron energy loss spectroscopy are described with examples presented from nitrogen-plasma-treatment of some polyesters.  The variety of chemical and physical changes produced by plasmas are discussed.

Another major component of this tutorial deals with practical aspects of plasma web treatment.  Practical issues addressed include treatment dose, process factors and their roles, practical treatment efficiency, process verification, and process stability issues.  An approach to identifying promising treatment chemistries is presented with examples from applications to adhesion of vapor deposited silver to a polyester and adhesion of aqueous gelatin-containing coatings to a polyester. 

Practical testing of plasma-treated surfaces and interfaces is also given considerable attention, including a discussion of the inherent non-linearity of typical treatment responses.  Practical adhesion and fundamental adhesion are discussed and compared.  The importance of employing or developing quantitative test methods, even for practical purposes, is emphasized.  Types of measurements described include wettability/coatability, adhesion and fracture toughness, and chemical stability.

The final portion of the tutorial discusses mechanisms of surface modification in the context of a site balance model.  The simple site balance approach is presented and applied to analysis of the kinetics of polymer surface modification.  A lumped kinetic approach is introduced as a simple means for comparing treatment processes.  This approach is further developed by combination with plasma diagnostic techniques to suggest specific models for modification of polyesters by capacitively coupled low-radio-frequency nitrogen plasmas. 

Instructor: Jeremy M. Grace, Senior Filter Design Engineer, Semrock, a unit of IDEX Corporation
Jeremy M. Grace

is currently a senior filter design engineer at Semrock, Inc. where he is working in the area of thin-film interference filters for life sciences and other applications. Prior to his position at Semrock, he was a senior principal scientist at the Eastman Kodak company, where he worked in the areas of plasma surface modification, thin-film adhesion, sputter deposition, and organic vapor deposition. He has written several patents and journal articles in the area of plasma modification of polymers. He is a member of the Society of Vacuum Coaters and the American Vacuum Society, and served as chair of the Upstate New York Chapter of the AVS (UNY-VAC) from 1998-2000.


This course is currently available via:
On Location Education Program

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