Glossary of surface technology

Modifying the surface tension

Increasing or reducing the surface tension (resp. surface energy) of solid surfaces is one of the primary applications of plasma technology. High surface tension provides for:

  • good wettability by liquids and thus
  • good adhesion of paints, inks, adhesives, solders
  • good filtering properties of porous materials

Low surface tension provides for:

  • water-repellence and thus
  • water-proof fabrics
  • non-soiling and self-cleaning surfaces
  • no attack by reactive liquids
  • Epilamisation: prevents dissolving of lubricating oils

High surface tension is achieved by:

Low surface tension is achieved by:

  • plasma coating with hydrophobic polymers, in particular by using fluorine monomers as a process gas and polymerisation to PTFE-like coats or HMDSO and polymerisation to quartz-like coats.

See a video of the effect of plasma activation on the surface tension

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