NH3 plasma treatment of PET for enhancing aluminium adhesion

M. Creatore, P. Favia, G. Tenuto, A. Valentini, R. Agostino, d'

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A NH3 plasma process has been studied for enhancing the adhesion of aluminum coatings on polyethyleneterephtalate (PET) films. According to our peel strength results, NH3 plasmas increase markedly the adhesion of aluminum on PET compared to O2 discharges, with a much shorter treatment time. A tentative model of nonhindered growth of Al-coating based on the Lewis basic character of the functionalities grafted by NH3 plasma is proposed for Al-polymer interactions, and for explaining the various steps in the process. The effects of power input and treatment time on the polymer surface chemistry and on the metal-polymer peel strength have been evaluated. Treatment times as short as 0.1 s at 100 W proved to be the best conditions in NH3 plasmas, for a significant increase in Al/PET adhesion, while longer treatments have a detrimental effect. This may explain why most authors have not discovered the benefits of NH3 plasmas for improving the adhesion of metals on PET, and have preferred O2 or air treatments. The relative basicity of PET grafted with N-containing functionalities has been measured by means of X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS) analysis of samples exposed to vapors of trichloromethane, a Lewis acid molecular probe. The Al/PET adhesion was evaluated by means of a 180° Peel Test.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-218
JournalPlasmas and Polymers
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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