The surface modification of high density polyethylene (HDPE) and polypropylene (PP) has been carried out by exposure to a DC glow discharge in air at different power levels of 5.28, 11, and 13 W. The surface energies of polymers exposed to glow discharge were estimated by measuring the contact angles of two test liquids: de-ionized water and formamide, whose surfaceenergy components are known. Both the polar and the dispersion components of the surfaceenergy increased rapidly at short exposure times but the increase of the polar component was relatively more than that of the dispersion component. At low power levels of 5.28 and 11 W, the polar component of the surface energy reached a maximum plateau depending on the exposure time, but at a 13 W power level the polar component of the surface energy decreased from a maximum value to a saturation level. For PP, this saturation level could not be attained in this study. The maximum total surface energy measured in this study corresponds to the maximum polar component at 13 W for an exposure time of 120 s. The contact angle of the adhesive, Araldite AY 105 mixed with hardener HY 840 in a weight ratio of 2 : 1, was minimum at this maximum surface energy attained with HDPE and PP by exposure to a glow discharge in air. The measured lap shear strengths of HDPE or PP-Araldite-mild steel joints show a maximum corresponding to the maximum surface energy measured on the above-mentioned polymers.
Shantanu Bhowmik, Ghosh, P. K., Ray, S., and Barthwal, S. K., “Surface modification of high density polyethylene and polypropylene by DC glow discharge and adhesive bonding to steel”, Journal of adhesion science and technology, vol. 12, pp. 1181–1204, 1998.