Plasma Treatment of Textiles | Effect of Plasma on Textile Fibers

Plasma is an ionized form of gas and can be created using a controlled level of AC or DC power and an ionizing gas medium. It is an ensemble of randomly moving, charged atomic particles with a sufficient particle density to remain, on average, electrically neutral. Plasmas are used in very diverse applications, ranging from manufacturing integrated circuits used in the microelectronics industry through treating polymer films to the destruction of toxic waste. 
                               Solid,                 Liquid,                        Gas,                      Plasma

Principle of Plasma Processing
Plasma technology is a surface-sensitive method that allows selective modification in the nm-range. By introducing energy into a gas, quasi-neutral plasma can be generated consisting of neutral particles, electrically charged particles and highly reactive radicals. If a textile to be functionalized is placed in a reaction chamber with any gas and the plasma is then ignited, the generated particles interact with the surface of the textile. In this way the surface is specifically structured, chemically functionalized or even coated with nm-thin film depending on the type of gas. 
Plasma processing
Plasma Parameters:
Primary parameters:
  •  Gas type
  •  Residence time 
Secondary parameters:
  •  Gas flow
  •  Frequency
  •  Power
  •  Pressure
  •  Low pressure: 5.10-2 - 1 mbar
  •  Ambient temperature: 30 - 40 °C
  •  Gasses: O2,N2,Ar,He,CxFy,H2,CH4,…
  •  Liquid monomers: HMDSO,…
  •  Frequency’s: KHz, MHz, GHz
Effect of Plasma on Fibers and Polymers
  •  Textile materials subjected to plasma treatments undergo major chemical and physical transformations including chemical changes in surface layers, changes in surface layer structure, and changes in physical properties of surface layers.
  •  Plasma treatment on fiber and polymer surfaces results in the formation of new functional groups such as —OH, —C=O, —COOH which affect fabric wet ability as well as facilitate graft polymerization which, in turn, affect liquid repellence of treated textiles and nonwovens.
Classification of Plasma
  •  On the basis of pressure in plasma chamber­- Atmospheric Pressure and low pressure plasma.
  •  On the basis of degree of ionization and the temperature of electrons and ions-Hot and cold plasma.
  •  On the basis of frequency of the power supply­ DC and AC plasma(RF, Microwave, GHz Plasma).
  •  Depending upon the electron affinity of the process gases used-Electropositive and electronegative gas plasma.
Why Plasma Treatment of Textiles ?
  •  It is a surface treatment
  •  Does not affect the bulk properties
  •  Versatile and uniform treatment
  •  Environmental friendly process

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Mazharul Islam Kiron is a textile consultant and researcher on online business promotion. He is working with one European textile machinery company as a country agent. He is also a contributor of Wikipedia.

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