The Ageing of μPlasma Modified Polymers: the Role of Hydrophilicity

Chang Che*, Ben Dashtbozorg, Shaojun Qi, Matthew J. North, Xiaoying Li, Hanshan Dong, Michael Jenkins

*Corresponding author for this work

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Thermoplastic polymers exhibit relatively limited surface energies and this results in poor adhesion when bonded to other materials. Plasma surface modification offers the potential to overcome this challenge through the functionalisation of the polymer surfaces. In this study, three polymers of differing hydrophobicity (HDPE, PA12, and PA6) were subjected to a novel, atmospheric, μPlasma surface treatment technique, and its effectiveness at increasing the surface energies was evaluated via measurement of the contact angle. To characterise the physical and chemical changes following μPlasma surface modification, the surface morphology was observed using atomic force microscopy (AFM), and the functionalisation of the surface was evaluated using infrared spectroscopy. Immediately after treatment, the contact angle decreased by 47.3° (HDPE), 42.6° (PA12), and 50.1° (PA6), but the effect was not permanent in that there was a pronounced relaxation or ageing phenomenon in operation. The ageing process over five hours was modelled using a modified stretched exponential function Kohlrausch–Williams–Watts (KWW) model, and it was found that the ageing rate was dependent on the hydrophilicity of polymers, with polyamides ageing more rapidly than polyethylene.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1402
Number of pages14
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 19 Mar 2024

Bibliographical note

This work was financially supported by the Centre for Doctoral Training in Innovative Metal Processing (IMPaCT), funded by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), grant reference EP/F006926/1, and the European Commission (EC ERDF_Smart Factory Hub SmartFub).


  • μPlasma
  • thermoplastics
  • hydrophilicity
  • wettability
  • ageing
  • modelling


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