Introduction of functional groups of polyethylene surfaces by a carbon dioxide plasma treatment

Johannes G.A. Terlingen, Hermina F.C. Gerritsen, Allan S. Hoffman, Jan Feijen

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Poly(ethylene) (PE) films were treated with a carbon dioxide (CO2) plasma to study the formation of oxygen-containing functional groups at the surface. Modified and nonmodified films were characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) and water contact angle measurements. During the CO2 plasma treatment, the PE surface is etched and oxidized, yielding films with a very hydrophilic surface. The oxygen incorporation at the surface is fast and can be described by a combination of a zero-order incoraporation and a first-order etching process. Several oxygen functionalities such as carboxylic acid (approximately 14% of the oxygen persent), ketone/aldehyde (25%), and hydroxyl/epoxide (5-9%) groups were introduced at the surface by the plasma treatment. This was shown by using derivatization reactions for specific functional groups followed by XPS analysis. The wettability of the plasma-treated surface decreased when the films were stroed for prolonged periods of time in air. This aging process could not be completely reversed by immersion of the films in water.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)969-982
JournalJournal of applied polymer science
Issue number57
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • METIS-105367
  • IR-71214


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