, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 417-426
Date: 22 Nov 2009

Chemical and physical analysis of cotton fabrics plasma-treated with a low pressure DC glow discharge

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This paper focuses on the modification of cotton fabrics using a low pressure DC glow discharge obtained in air. The influence of different operating parameters such as treatment time, discharge power and operating pressure on the chemical and physical properties of the cotton fabrics is studied in detail. Surface analysis and characterization of the plasma-treated cotton fabrics is performed using vertical wicking experiments, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and weight loss measurements. The cotton fabrics show a significant increase in wicking behaviour; an effect which increases with increasing treatment time, increasing discharge power and increasing pressure. Results also show that low pressure DC glow treatment leads to surface erosion of the cellulose fibres, accompanied by an incorporation of oxygen-containing groups (C–O, C=O, O–C–O and O–C=O) on the cotton fibres. The DC glow treatment has thus the potential to influence not only the chemical but also the physical properties of cotton fabrics and this without the use of water or chemicals.