, Volume 49, Issue 10, pp 2299–2306 | Cite as

Improving adhesion performance of polyethylene surfaces by cold plasma treatment

  • C. Mandolfino
  • E. Lertora
  • C. Gambaro
  • M. Bruno


In this paper, the effects of low pressure plasma treatment on surface energy of polyethylene samples and on shear properties of adhesive bonded joints based on these substrates have been investigated. In particular, the optimization of two plasma process parameters, exposure time and power input, was studied performing contact angle evaluation and lap-shear tests. The plasma treatment was also compared with a conventional primer treatment, for which it is a clean and effective alternative. As a measure of the durability of both treatments, the bond shear strength immediately after bonding was compared with that after a storage period in the laboratory environment. The experimental results show that the optimized plasma process may remarkably increase wettability properties of polyethylene surfaces and shear strength of bonded joints, even higher than those treated with primer and that these good properties remain quite unchanged even after some days of storage in a laboratory.


Cold plasma treatment Adhesive bonding Polyethylene Contact angle 



The authors wish to thank Gambetti Kenologia S.r.l, for the plasma reactor supply, and Henkel SpA Italy for the materials and all their support in carrying out this investigation.


  1. 1.
    Hayat F (2011) Comparing properties of adhesive bonding, resistance spot welding and adhesive weld bonding of coated and uncoated DP 600 steel. Int J Iron Steel Res 18(9):70–78CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Sadowski T, Kneć M, Golewski P (2010) Experimental investigations and numerical modelling of steel adhesive joints reinforced by rivets. Int J Adhes Adhes 30:338–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Da Silva LFM, Pirondi A, Ochsner A (2011) Hybrid adhesive joints. Springer, HeidelbergCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Petrie EM (2000) Handbook of adhesives and sealants. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Baldan A (2004) Review adhesively-bonded joints and repairs in metallic alloys, polymers and composite materials: adhesives, adhesion theories and surface pretreatment. J Mater Sci 39:1–49CrossRefADSGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Underhill PR, DuQuesnay DL (2009) The dependence of the fatigue life of adhesive joints on surface preparation. Int J Adhes Adhes 26:62–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    ASTM D2093–03 (2003) Standard practice for preparation of surfaces of plastics prior to adhesive bondingGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wegman RF, Van Twisk J (2013) Surface preparation techniques for adhesive bonding. Elsevier, AmsterdamGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Iqbal HMS, Bhowmik S, Benedictus R (2010) Surface modification of high performance polymers by atmospheric pressure plasma and failure mechanism of adhesive bonded joints. Int J Adhes Adhes 30:418–424CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Encinas N, Abenojar J, Martínez MA (2012) Development of improved polypropylene adhesive bonding by abrasion and atmospheric plasma surface modifications. Int J Adhes Adhes 33:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Schulz U, Munzert P, Kaiser N (2001) Surface modification of PMMA by DC glow discharge and microwave plasma treatment for the improvement of coating adhesion. Surf Coat Technol 142:507–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Zhenga Z, Rena L, Fenga W, Zhaia Z, Wanga Y (2012) Surface characterization of polyethylene terephthalate films treated by ammonia low-temperature plasma. Appl Surf Sci 258:7207–7212ADSGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Cioffi MOH, Voorwald HJC, Hein LRC, Ambrosio L (2005) Effect of cold plasma treatment on mechanical properties of PET/PMMA composites. Composites A 36:615–623CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Baumgärtner KM, Schneider J, Schulz A, Feichtinger J, Walker M (2001) Short-time plasma pre-treatment of polytetrafluoroethylene for improved adhesion. Surf Coat Technol 142:501–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Abenojar J, Torregrosa-Coque R, Martínez MA, Martín-Martínez JM (2009) Surface modifications of polycarbonate (PC) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) copolymer by treatment with atmospheric plasma. Surf Coat Technol 203:2173–2180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Carrino L, Moroni G, Polini W (2002) Cold plasma treatment of polypropylene surface: a study on wettability and adhesion. J Mater Process Technol 121:373–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Park J, Won-tae J, Paek K, Kim Y, Choi Y, Kim J, Hwang Y (2003) Pre-treatments of polymers by atmospheric pressure ejected plasma for adhesion improvement. Surf Coat Technol 174:547–552CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Ku JH, Jung IH, Rhee KY, Park SJ (2013) Atmospheric pressure plasma treatment of polypropylene to improve the bonding strength of polypropylene/aluminum composites. Composites B 45:1282–1287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lehocky M, Drnovska H, Lapčíková B, Barros-Timmons AM, Trindade T, Zembala M, Lapčík L Jr (2003) Plasma surface modification of polyethylene. Colloids Surf A 222:125–131CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Ting JAS, Rosario LMD, Lacdan MCC, Lee HV Jr, De Vero CJ, Ramos HJ, Tumlos RB (2013) Enhanced adhesion of epoxy-bonded steel surfaces using O2/Ar microwave plasma treatment. Int J Adhes Adhes 40:64–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Lee CJ, Lee SK, Ko DC, Kim DJ, Kim BM (2009) Evaluation of surface and bonding properties of cold rolled steel sheet pretreated by Ar/O2 atmospheric pressure plasma at room temperature. J Mater Process Technol 209:4769–4775CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Sorrentino L, Carrino L (2009) Influence of process parameters of oxygen cold plasma treatment on wettability ageing time of 2024 aluminium alloy. Int J Adhes Adhes 29:136–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Tang S, Kwon OJ, Lu N, Choi HS (2005) Surface characteristics of AISI 304L stainless steel after an atmospheric pressure plasma treatment. Surf Coat Technol 195:298–306CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Choi DM, Park CK, Cho K, Park CE (1997) Adhesion improvement by plasma treatment of polyethylene. Polymer 38:6243–6249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Petasch W, Räuchle E, Walker M, Eisner P (1995) Improvement of the adhesion of low-energy polymers by a short-time plasma treatment. Surf Coat Technol 74:682–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Fombuena V, Balart J, Boronat T, Sánchez-Nácher L, Garcia-Sanoguera D (2013) Improving mechanical performance of thermoplastic adhesion joints by atmospheric plasma. Mater Des 47:49–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Tanarro I, Herrero VJ, Carrasco E, Jiménez-Redondo M (2011) Cold plasma chemistry and diagnostics. Vacuum 85:1120–1124CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Tendero C, Tixier C, Tristant P, Desmaison J, Leprince P (2006) Atmospheric pressure plasmas: a review. Spectrochim Acta 61:2–30ADSGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sanchis R, Fenollar O, Garcìa D, Sánchez L, Balart R (2008) Improved adhesion of LDPE films to polyolefin foams for automotive industry using low-pressure plasma. Int J Adhes Adhes 28:445–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Mühlhan C, Weidner ST, Friedrich J, Nowack H (1999) Improvement of bonding properties of polypropylene by low pressure plasma treatment. Surf Coat Technol 116:783–787CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Loctite (2013) Technical data sheet Loctite® 401™Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Loctite (2013) Technical data sheet Loctite® 770™Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    ASTM D3163–01 (2008). Standard test method for determining strength of adhesively bonded rigid plastic lap-shear joints in shear by tension loadingGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Mandolfino
    • 1
  • E. Lertora
    • 1
  • C. Gambaro
    • 1
  • M. Bruno
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical Engineering, Polytechnic SchoolUniversity of GenoaGenoaItaly

Personalised recommendations