Dr. K. L. Mittal, Dr. Robert H. Lacombe

Dr. K. L. Mittal, Dr. Robert H. Lacombe

Editorial September 2015

This issue of the SURFACE SCIENCE CORNER has the dual purpose of presenting a book review on a recently published volume while simultaneously having a look at the amazingly ubiquitous world of adhesives technology. The volume in question is:

Steven Abbott, (DEStech Publications, Inc., 2015)

Though the title would give the impression of dealing with the broad topic of adhesion science the volume is in fact closely focused on the topic of adhesives technology. This is not only a good thing but a necessary one also since dealing with the general topic of adhesion would require an encyclopedia series as opposed to a relatively compact volume.

What struck me most upon reading the volume was the amazing ubiquity of adhesive applications which we encounter in our everyday lives and the broad range of thermal-mechanical requirements that these applications require. Have a look around your local supermarket if you are not convinced about pervasiveness of adhesives in our day to day lives. Every glass jar has an adhesive attaching the label, every cardboard box is held together with an adhesive, all the bubble pack packages containing everything from paperclips to cutlery are sealed with an adhesive. Even going over to the fresh produce tables with fruits and vegetables laid out completely bare of any packaging materials whatever one finds sneaky little labels adhered to nearly everything with the items PLU code printed on it. It is not an exaggeration to say that the entire contents of the store are held together with an adhesive of one kind or another.

Looking around my office I see the ever present Postit® notes plastered on nearly every vertical and horizontal surface as well as interleaving the pages of most of the volumes on my bookshelf. Thinking about it one realizes the that the Postit note is a rather remarkable technology in that the note must adhere quickly to a broad range of surfaces without any surface pretreatment whatever and must also be cleanly removable without damaging the surface in question. Thus the Postit note puts a stake in the ground at one end of the adhesive performance spectrum which requires rapid easily reversed adhesion to a wide range of surfaces without regard to any sort of surface treatment other than perhaps blowing off some dust.

Going to the other end of the spectrum we find the adhesives which are used to glue together high performance aircraft. The requirements for this application are totally the opposite from those of the Postit note. All surfaces are carefully cleaned and treated with special primers. Maximal joint strength is required over a wide range of temperature and environment conditions giving a bond that needs to be totally irreversible.

Sitting between the extremes of the Postit note and aircraft glue is a vast range of intermediate applications ranging from gluing together the common cereal box to gluing the windshield onto your automobile. Consider the cereal box. Here fairly strong adhesion is required since the container cannot fall apart too easily but the adhesion cannot be too strong since the consumer has to be able to open the package without excessive force. On top of these requirements the adhesive material must be inexpensive and easily applied without surface preparation since the manufacturing volumes involved are enormous.

The case of adhering to windshield glass presents an entirely different set of requirements. In case you are not aware, many windshields in the newer car models are glued to the frame. Not only that but you also find that the rearview mirror is also glued to the glass. I can attest directly to this fact since the rearview mirror on my car fell off recently and needed to be reattached. The requirements here are dramatically opposite to the cereal box. First the bond must be permanent. Second the bond must withstand a wide range of temperature cycling from say 10 degrees F below zero in Winter to over 100 F in summer for a vehicle parked in the sun. Third the adhesive must withstand extensive exposure to ultra violet radiation from the sun. Given these requirements I thought it best to go to the auto parts store and purchase an adhesive specially formulated for attaching rearview mirrors.

The procedure for attaching my mirror was more like using aircraft glue than bonding a cereal box. First the glass and the attachment button were cleaned with acetone to remove all residual adhesive. Second a primer layer had to be applied to the glass and allowed to set for a specific time. Finally I was directed to apply only a thin layer of the adhesive to the attachment button which was then pressed in place for a full minute to get initial attachment. An hour or so or curing time was needed to achieve full strength before the mirror could be attached to the button.

Getting back to the volume under review it is clear upon cursory reading that the author has spent considerable time in the adhesives formulation business. The table of contents gives an indication of the flavor of the topics covered:
1. Some basics: Reviews the rudiments of adhesion measurement and adhesion failure mechanisms.
2. The Myths around Surface Energy and Roughness: An entertainingly provocative review of the concepts of surface energy and surface roughness as applied to adhesives technology.
3. Intermingling and Entanglement: Brings into focus the critically important role of the adhesive bulk properties on its adhesion performance. In particular the crucial role of polymer molecular weight and chain segment mobility are discussed in regard to achieving high adhesion strength.
4. Time is the Same as Temperature: Discusses the critical importance of the concept of Time Temperature Superposition in determining the thermal-mechanical properties of all adhesive formulations.
5. Strong Adhesion with a Weak Interface: Review of the important topic of pressure sensitive adhesives.
6. Formulating for Compatibility: Discusses the importance of polymer solution thermodynamics in the development of adhesive formulations.
7. Measuring Adhesion: Perils and Pitfalls: Gives a review of the most common adhesion measurement methods used for evaluating adhesive formulations.
8. Putting Things into Practice: Gives a comprehensive summary of how all the above topics can work together in the “scientific” design of adhesive formulations.

Topics 2 and 3 above are of most interest to the subject of applying plasma technology to improving adhesion to polymer substrates. The essential point of chapter 2 is that the role of surface energy in promoting adhesion to crystalline polymers is basically misunderstood. It is well known that it is difficult to adhere anything to crystalline polymers such as poly(ethylene) PE, poly(ethylene-terepthalate) PET and poly(propylene) PP. It is also well known that plasma treatment greatly improves the adhesibility of all of these materials. The question is what is going on?

The standard answer is that plasma treatment is improving the surface energy of these materials thus allowing greater wetting as well as stronger interactions at the interface via the creation of functional groups. The author argues persuasively that this is unlikely to be the case. Looking at polyethylene for example, standard analysis reveals the surface energy to be roughly 32 mJ/m2 (milli joules per square meter). Plasma treatment will typically raise the surface energy to something like 42 mJ/m2 or about a 30% increase. This figure, however, does not square with the observed increase in peel test adhesion which can be in the range of 10 to 100 J/m2 (joules per square meter) or several orders of magnitude larger than the increase in surface energy.

Further suspicion is cast on the surface energy argument by the comparison of poly(ethylene terephthalate)PET to poly(vinyl chloride) PVC. The surface energies of these two polymers are close to 43 mJ/m2 but it is well known that it is difficult to adhere to PET compared to PVC. Again we have wonder what is going on?

A clue begins to emerge in the case of PE. This polymer comes in two basic forms one of low density LDPE and one of high density HDPE. The high density form is essentially one long completely linear chain of CH units and therefore tends to be highly crystalline. The low density form, however, is composed of linear strings of CH units broken up at intervals by short side chains of CH units terminating in a CH3 group. The many side chains of the LDPE prevent it from attaining the same level of crystallinity as its HDPE cousin thus resulting in lower density. It is also known that it is easier to adhere to low density PE than the high density form. If we combine this with the fact that the poorly adhesionable PET is a highly crystalline polymer and the easily adhesionable PVC is totally amorphous then we have to suspect that it is the level of crystallinity that is key in determining adhesability.

It is at this point that the mechanisms of chain intermingling and chain entanglement enter the picture. In essence amorphous polymers have a high degree of chain segment mobility which allows them to interpenetrate and form entanglements which give rise to high levels of energy dissipation when trying to pull them apart. Think of trying to pull part two lengths of string that have been randomly jumbled together. It is these strongly dissipative effects that give rise to the apparent strong adhesion observed in peeling apart these intermingled and entangled layers.

Now the question becomes what is the role of plasma treatment in improving the adhesionability of crystalline polymers? Aside from improving the wettability of the treated surface the most obvious mechanism is the disruption of the surface crystalline layers of the polymer. Plasma treatment always involves the making and breaking of chemical bonds and in the case of crystalline polymers we postulate that the plasma field breaks up a significant amount of surface crystallinity creating an amorphous layer with highly mobile chain segments capable of intermingling and entangling with applied surface layers. The existing level of surface energy must be sufficient to allow for a reasonable amount of wetting, but beyond that it does not add significantly to the overall peel removal energy which is dominated by the dissipative effects of chain interpenetration and entanglement.

Prof. Abbott points out that the adhesion mechanisms described above have a strong influence on how the typical adhesive is formulated. The redoubtable formulator is generally faced with the prospect of joining two poorly or wholly uncharacterized surfaces and his customer wants an inexpensive and easily applied glue that will hold these surfaces together with just the right amount of strength and durability called for. He has to assume that the surface energies will be in a reasonable range to give sufficient wetting without the need to perform any sort of involved surface analysis or surface preparation aside from a perfunctory cleaning. Plasma treatment will be a very handy tool when dealing with difficult surfaces such as the crystalline polymers but it must be remembered that all that is required is to sufficiently break up the crystallinity of just the top most surface layer in order to get chain interpenetration. Over treatment must be avoided so that one does not create a layer low molecular weight rubble that could act as a weak boundary layer and thus give even poorer adhesion than the original untreated surface.

As luck would have it not only did my rearview mirror fall off but also the soles of my cycling shoes delaminated. Thus I got to try out a totally different kind of adhesive from what I used to attach my mirror. Commonly called shoe goo it is apparently some kind of silicone polymer formulation. No surface preparation is required other than blowing out any loosely adhered debris. Contrary to the rearview mirror formulation there is no primer layer required and the glue is applied in a fairly thick layer and spread out as evenly as possible with a stick to give good coverage and penetration into all the nooks and crannies of the mating surfaces. After application of the glue I pressed together the mating surfaces under the weight of an inverted 10 pound sledge hammer in order to make maximal contact and then allowed everything to set and cure over a period of a day or two.

Thus the world of adhesives turns out not only to be very commonplace in our day to day lives but also rather subtle, deceptive and non-intuitive in terms of the science and technology required to create truly effective and useful formulations. The requirements from one application to another can be diametrically opposite and the formulator has but a limited number of theoretical tools available which must be carefully handled. The reader interested in further exploring this most engaging topic is encourage to refer to Prof. Abbott’s fine volume.

For my part I can confirm that both my rearview mirror and cycling shoes remain completely intact. So despite the subtle and intricate nature of adhesive technology good adhesives are available for nearly all practical purposes and Prof. Abbot’s volume is a most instructive guide for anyone faced with the problem of developing a working adhesive.

The author is happy to entertain any questions or comments concerning this topic and may be contacted at the coordinates below.

Dr. Robert H. Lacombe
Materials Science and Technology
3 Hammer Drive
Hopewell Junction, NY 12533-6124
Tel. 845-897-1654; 845-592-1963
FAX 212-656-1016
E-mail: rhlacombe@compuserve.com

24. September 2015   2:00 pm
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL

We have lots of exciting news around here these days. As I mentioned in my last post, Plasmatreat turned 20 on September 1.

In addition to this big milestone, Plasmatreat has also just been honored as one of the 100 “Best of German Mittelstand” companies at the 2015 Ambassadors’ Conference hosted by the German Foreign Office in Berlin. (In this context, “Mittelstand” refers to the small and mid-sized German companies that have achieved global market-leader status in their respective sectors.)

Closer to home, we are shaking things up with a move to a larger and better equipped facility in the East Bay for our California-based division. Stay tuned for more details once we get settled.

Despite the upheaval of the impending move, Khoren Sahagian, our Senior Applications Manager, has just written a new post that helps you cross-correlate a water contact angle and dyne surface tension.  I encourage you to give it a read if you’re trying to calculate surface energy for wettability or adhesion purposes.

Finally, last but certainly not least, Plasmatreat North America has appointed Mercedes Tur Escriva as Territory Manager for Mexico and Central America. She has over 15 years’ experience working with clients in the area of industrial surface treatment technologies, and we are excited to offer our Spanish-speaking prospects a fast response and assistance in their native language. Welcome to the team, Mercedes!

Until next time, we hope your autumn is as busy and productive as ours has been so far.

23. September 2015   5:49 am
Khoren Sahagian

Khoren Sahagian

Contact angle and dyne inks are commonly accepted methods for probing surface energy. Surface energy is a good first indicator of a clean, bondable, or wettable surface.

For typical plastic and composite materials, the surface begins with low surface energy or a high water contact angle. Aqueous solutions and many adhesives have difficulty wetting onto materials with low surface energy.

Plasma processing incorporates the surface with reactive groups that promote wetting and adhesion. But not every material responds the same to every plasma treatment. With some materials, you have to find the correct plasma gas or plasma source to achieve the desired response. A contact angle or dyne ink will quickly show you if you have that response, or if you should try a different variable.

Brighton Technologies in Cincinnati, Ohio has created a graph that cross-correlates between a water contact angle (WCA) and dyne surface tension mN/m, which they have allowed us to reproduce here. This is helpful for those trying to replace their dyne inks, or those who wish to convert their contact angle data into an engineering unit.

We hope it’s helpful to you (click on the chart to expand it).


Category: Miscellaneous
17. September 2015   2:02 pm
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL

On September 1, Plasmatreat turned a very proud 20 years of age—a true entrepreneurial success story that I, and my team, are extremely proud to be part of. We appreciate all of your support and could not have done it without you!

The company was launched by Christian Buske (our current CEO) and Peter Foensel back in 1995, and our very first customer was Hella Headlamps. Fast-forward twenty years, and we are now a global leader for all kinds of plasma surface treatment technologies with subsidiaries and representation in over 20 countries all over the world.

Earlier this month, I was among 300 employees, spouses, customers, suppliers, and friends who gathered together in Germany for the 20th anniversary celebration. It was a very inspiring, fun evening, and I’ve attached a few photos.



As I mentioned earlier, we owe our success to you and are deeply grateful for your business and your belief in our technology. Thank you. Plasma’s applications are growing every day, and we’re excited to be a longstanding pioneer in this industry.

To the next 20 years and beyond!

27. August 2015   3:56 pm
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL


Nondisclosure agreements often prevent me from sharing the details of many of our exciting developments—understandable yet frustrating!—but today I am pleased to talk in a general sense about an application that has the potential to improve the daily lives of countless people (and animals) around the world.

Plasma can improve the “wettability” of microsampling devices used to collect fluids for lab analysis, including well water, waste water, blood, tears, and synovial fluid.

Companies are using gas plasma in manufacturing to develop new devices that can quickly and consistently collect a fixed volume of the fluid to be tested. No special skill is required to collect the sample, and once the fluid’s analyte has dried on the tip, it can later be extracted using common solvents and analyzed—no centrifuge, transfer, or freezing are required.

Samples obtained in this manner are minimally invasive, resulting in less trauma to test subjects (including children and laboratory animals). Additionally, as compared with wet samples, samples obtained in this manner are easy to ship via regular mail as no dry ice or expedited delivery are needed to preserve the samples’ integrity.

This also means that people around the world, even in very remote areas, can participate in groundbreaking—and potentially life-saving—medical studies.

Amazing and inspiring stuff indeed!

Oftentimes, industry engineers are not fully aware of all the options (both in service and technology) Plasmatreat offers. But we have the infrastructure in application support and continue to strengthen it to support solution developments in the medical and life sciences markets—as well as many others.

As always, please feel free to get in touch if we can provide any additional information for you.

Category: Aerospace
13. August 2015   2:00 pm
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL



I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately (primarily for work, but some pleasure, too), so airplanes have been on my mind as I’ve been spending much of my time aloft!

Plasmatreat’s Openair technology plays a key role in the safe and stable adhesion of coatings and bondings on aircraft components made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastics, as well as metals and composites.

What’s great about this technology, in addition to its reliability, is the fact that it’s both environmentally friendly and cost-effective. It’s also suitable for treatment of airplane parts of all sizes, from the very smallest (including those with complex geometries) all the way up to huge wings and fuselage components.

How does it work? The process is threefold: Plasma activates a surface via selective oxidation processes, eliminates static charges, and cleans at a microfine level. Our laboratory trials have revealed that surface energy values of more than 72 dyne are achievable, leading to improved bonding and enabling adhesion of water-based adhesive or paint systems to traditionally adhesive-resistant surfaces.

If you’d like more details on the process, please check out our article in the June 2015 issue of Products Finishing magazine. We’re always happy to answer any questions you may have at our end, too.

30. July 2015   3:29 pm
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL



You may be familiar with UV rays primarily in the context of sunshine – which you’ve hopefully been enjoying plenty of this summer.

But UV rays also play a key role in the coatings of many popular plastics, including automotive headlight lenses, commercial eyewear, and consumer electronic devices.

UV-curable powder coatings are of particular interest because they offer many of the advantages of traditional thermoset powder coatings (easy to apply; can be reclaimed and then resprayed) with the speed and low-temp advantages offered by UV liquid. Regular thermoset powder generally requires temperatures too high – around 350-450°F – to coat plastics.

For these reasons, my writing partner Paul Mills likes to refer to UV-curable powder coatings, with their optimal combination of strengths, as the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of coatings!

While the UV curing process provides a number of great benefits – including improved durability and performance, enhanced appearance, and various process advantages – it can also increase the likelihood of adhesion failures. Since these coatings often contain little or no solvent, attaining adhesion is even more challenging.

Happily, as with so many other applications, plasma provides a solution to this problem.

In recent lab tests, we used a UV powder coating on standard test panels of various blends of polypropylene, ABS, polycarbonate, ABS/Polycarbonate, and Nylon blends. Plasma surface treatment was performed identically on each test panel at a line speed of 20 FPM using a Plasmatreat RD1004 rotating nozzle laboratory system, powered by a FG5001 power supply.

Following the plasma surface treatment, a thin conductive coating was spray-applied, followed by an acrylated polyester UV-curable powder coating that was electrostatically applied. The resulting film thickness was 50-60 microns.

The powder-coated test panels were then heated in a 230°F electric convection oven for 10 minutes, allowing the powder coating to melt and flow smoothly over the surface of the substrate. Finally, the powder was exposed to UV, which cured it almost instantaneously.

The results? The polypropylene, ABS and polycarbonate panels – which had no coating adhesion without surface treatment – showed very good adhesion following atmospheric plasma treatment. In three of the four cases, in other words, plasma treatment made the difference between an acceptable and unacceptable process.

While additional work remains, we’re very excited about these results. You can read the full article, co-written by Paul Mills and me, in the upcoming issue of Plastics Decorating magazine.

In the meantime, keep those sunglasses – UV-cured or otherwise – close by, and enjoy the summer!

16. July 2015   3:31 pm
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL

Photo courtesy Plasmatreat.

Photo courtesy Plasmatreat.

A fun plasma story for you today: This past April, at an Openair® plasma seminar in Belgium organized by Plasmatreat’s representative Rycobel, participants had an exclusive opportunity to watch a live demonstration of the plasma pretreatment of carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic (CFRP) components for the Punch Powertrain Solar Team’s new racing car.

The car, Indupol One, made its debut appearance at the World Solar Challenge 2013 and had just returned from the 2015 Abu Dhabi Solar Challenge in January. In addition to its new design and other advances, the latest model features a very special innovation: For the first time, the CFRP components were pretreated with atmospheric pressure plasma prior to bonding.

The production manager of the 16-strong solar car team – who is just 23 years old – enthusiastically described his team’s decision to use atmospheric pressure plasma in the new car to improve the adhesion of the CFRP components. This approach not only greatly reduced the time taken to pretreat the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, it also achieved a significant weight savings compared with the previous method.

Next month, the latest model of the solar racing car—treated with Openair® plasma—will be unveiled to the public for the first time. It and its design team will then head to Australia for the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge 2015 in October.

Dr. K. L. Mittal, Dr. Robert H. Lacombe

Dr. K. L. Mittal, Dr. Robert H. Lacombe

Editorial July 2015

The last two issues of the SURFACE SCIENCE CORNER BLOG dealt with polymer surface modification through plasma processing. One of the main issues dealt with the problem of controlling the resulting surface properties created by the highly aggressive nature of the plasma environment. The large number of chemically active species in the plasma can give rise to unwanted surface chemistries unless special steps are taken to avoid this problem. The use of monosort functionalization and pulsed plasmas as discussed by Prof. Jeorge Friedrich in the previous issue of this blog are two possible ways of approaching this problem. However, the question still remains as to what changes in the surface were actually made after processing? This question brings us to the topic of surface characterization and in particular the use of contact angle measurements to conveniently and rapidly assess the wettability characteristics of a given surface.

In this regard, those who would have an interest in following the latest developments in the overall field of contact angle measurements and wetting behavior will definitely want to mark their calendars for the upcoming symposium:

TENTH INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM ON CONTACT ANGLE, WETTABILITY AND ADHESION; to be held at the Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, New Jersey, July 13-15, 2016.

Researchers from universities, technical institutes and industrial labs the world over will be presenting some of their latest work on this rapidly expanding technology which is finding applications in a wide range of cutting edge innovations including: self cleaning surfaces, nano and micro fluidics, microbial antifouling coatings, superhydrophobic and superoleophobic surfaces and electrowetting to name just a few of the more active research areas. Interested readers can follow the development of this meeting at the following web site:


By way of an introduction to the topic of contact angle behavior, the remainder of this note will present some highlights of work presented at a previous meeting in the contact angle series held at Laval University in 2008. The rudiments of the contact angle experiment were covered in the July 2014 issue of this blog. The following discussion will cover some of the more current topics that were covered at the 2008 meeting in Laval.

Superhydrophobic/hydrophilic Behavior

The topic of superhydrophobic/superhydrophilic behavior was under very active investigation by many research groups worldwide as illustrated by the 9 papers submitted to the symposium. Applications range from self cleaning surfaces to preventing ice buildup on power lines. A most interesting paper was presented by Dr. Picraux from the Los Alamos National Laboratory entitled “Design of Nanowire Surfaces with Photo-induced Superhydrophilic to Superhydrophobic Switching”. The authors claim that they have developed functionalized photochromic monolayers for which the wetting angle of liquids can be reversibly switched optically by more than 100 degrees between superhydrophilic and superhydrophobic states. One would imagine that there would be tremendous applications for this technology in the realm of hand held tablets which are so tremendously popular these days.

Behavior of Water and Ice

During the week of January 5-10, 1998 a severe ice storm ravaged Southeastern Canada. The total water equivalent of precipitation, comprising mostly freezing rain and ice pellets and a bit of snow, exceeded 85 mm in Ottawa, 73 mm in Kingston, 108 in Cornwall and 100 mm in Montreal.   Further details of this horrific storm have been covered in the MST CONFERENCES newsletter and may be accessed at (www.mstconf.com/Vol5No1-2008.pdf). The prolonged freezing rain brought down millions of trees, 120,000 km of power lines and telephone cables, 130 major transmission towers each worth $100,000 and about 30,000 wooden utility poles costing $3000 each. Consequences for the local population were predictably disastrous with about 900,000 households without power in Quebec; 100,000 in Ontario. It is of little surprise then that the surface interactions of freezing water and aluminum power cables is of considerable interest to the Canadian government and of little surprise also that contact angle measurements are playing a significant role in the effort to understand and control these interactions. Thus no fewer than 4 papers were dedicated to this problem.

Novel Applications

It seems that hardly a day goes by but some new application of the contact angle behavior of surfaces arises apparently from nowhere. In fact, Carl Clegg of the ramé-hart instrument company has listed 50 different uses of the contact angle method ranging from the authentication of rare coins to the improved biocompatibility of polymer-based medical devices. For details see:


Adding to this there was a most interesting paper by Dr. Daryl Williams entitled “The Surface Energy of Pharmaceutical Solids- Its Importance in Solids Processing” which now adds pharmaceutical processing to the already extensive list. Undoubtedly even more unsuspected applications will surface in the future.

Oil Recovery and Mining Applications

The world’s insatiable thirst for fossil fuel products has lead to the quest to recover oil from progressively less productive sources such as tar sands and heretofore depleted wells. A moments reflection makes it clear that surface interactions between the residual oil and the surrounding rock are what dominates the problem of separating the oil from the rock. Again contact angle measurements are one of the leading methods being used to understand this problem.

Contact Angle in Micro and Nano Technology

The contact angle method is making remarkable inroads into the field of micro and nano technology mainly through the advent of micro-fluidics and micro-patterning of surfaces to control their wetting behavior. In the past I was always amazed at the very significant interest of Mechanical Engineering departments in the contact angle method. Being of the old school I always associated mechanical engineering with roads, bridges, automobiles, aircraft … etc. A moments reflection, however, quickly reveals that fluid flow is also an important mechanical engineering problem and that this problem is beginning to shift toward the micro-fluidics problem of flow in very small channels a micron or less in diameter. At this scale gravity is all but irrelevant and it is surface forces, governed by van der Waals interactions, that dominate. Again the contact angle technique is one of the most useful tools in investigating this behavior. Added to this the extensive efforts now underway in patterning surfaces to control their wetting behavior is bringing the contact angle method to the forefront in the realm of micro and nano technology. The paper presented by Dr. Mikael Järn of the YKI, Institute for Surfaces entitled “Wettability Studies of Selectively Functionalized Nanopatterned Surfaces” is a prime example of this new and exciting development in surface science.

Applications to Wood Science and Technology

Wood and wood products have been a mainstay of mankind since even before the dawn of civilization. Needless to say wood and wood products are still very much with us due to their ubiquity, unique properties and general availability as a relatively cheap and renewable resource. What is perhaps not so obvious is the many new and varied applications that wood is being put to by varying its surface properties through the use of plasma modification. Not surprisingly the contact angle method again comes into the picture in order to characterize the new surface properties. The paper of Dr. B. Riedl of Université Laval entitled   “Influence of Atmospheric Pressure Plasma on North-American Wood Surfaces”, highlights this trend nicely.

We can be sure that the above mentioned topics and many more will be the presented and discussed at the upcoming 10th in the contact angle symposium series to be held next year. Anyone with further interest should feel free to contact me at the address below.

Dr. Robert H. Lacombe, Chairman

Materials Science and Technology CONFERENCES

Hopewell Junction, NY 12533-6124,    E-mail: rhlacombe@compuserve.com

25. June 2015   2:22 pm
Andy Stecher

Andy Stecher
Elgin, IL

IMG_6253Everyone is busy enjoying the summer, so we’ll keep it brief today. Two updates I want to share with you:

1. We’ve been working on some exciting new applications with the UltraKat Corporation, headed by Dr. Karl Massholder. He has developed a permanent plasma nanocoating that can be applied to surfaces with the following effects:

  • Automatic self-cleaning and self-disinfection – light activates the treated surface to kill harmful microorganisms, reduce noxious substances through cold oxidization, and/or automatically remove stains from fabric. Remarkable!
  • Anti-fog coatings – essential for high-performance vehicle components, including safety mirrors and headlight covers
  • Anti-fingerprint coatings that make touchscreen phones look better and more readable
  • Permanent hydrophilicity (liquid beads up and runs off surfaces, leaving no stains behind). This is great for products like kitchen appliances that tend to take a beating on a regular basis.

Customers for these technologies include Philips, Bosch-Siemens, Cherry, Linde, and others.

2. I just returned from the inaugural meeting of the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI). IACMI is part of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, the presidential initiative for launching new manufacturing-focused institutes in the United States.

This new institute is tied to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) in Knoxville, TN and will focus on advancements relating to composite materials. Plasmatreat’s technologies can help with critical surface treatment technologies to bond these composites during assembly operations.

The car pictured above is a product of some of the work that ORNL have already done in this realm. The car body is 100% 3-D printed, which we think is just amazing.

Plasmatreat will continue to participate in facilitating leading-edge manufacturing technologies – as always, we are happy to answer any questions you may have!