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Laser Surface Modification for Improved Adhesion and Wettability

Project Code: 0905-04


Test and assess the use of Infra-Red lasers for alteration to surface topography for enhanced adhesion.

Test and assess the use of lasers and active gas for chemical modification of surfaces for improved adhesion and controlled hydrophobic/hydrophilic properties.

Project Outline

Two different methods will be assessed for laser surface modification.

1 Surface modification in a non-controlled environment: a laser source will be used to primarily roughen the surface of materials. However, it is possible that a chemical effect may also be introduced. Currently, excimer lasers and ultra fast lasers are used for this but these systems are expensive. Cheaper alternatives such as a fibre laser, a pulsed Nd:YAG laser, a high intensity diode laser and a CO2 laser will be investigated for this work. The laser beam will be scanned over the surface of materials, with and without an inert shielding gas such as Argon. This method will be mainly used for enhanced adhesion.

2 Surface modification in a controlled environment (such as active gas): a laser source is used in conjunction with an active gas to chemically modify the surface of materials. The sample will be placed in an active atmosphere while the laser beam is scanned over its surface. Modifications may be brought to the temperature and pressure of the active atmosphere and to the temperature of the sample to facilitate the formation of a plasma. This method could give both the possibility of controlling hydrophilic/hydrophobic properties of materials and enhancing adhesion.

Samples will be tested and inspected using the following techniques:

Contact angle measurements to assess changes in wettability of the materials.

For the samples showing the most changes in contact angle, SEM and FTIR techniques will be used to assess the effect of the treatment.

For treatment for enhanced adhesion, adhesion test and mechanical test will be carried out.

Relevant Industry Sectors

Oil, Gas and Chemicals, Construction and Engineering, Electronics, Sensors and Medical.

Technical and Economic Benefits

The work carried out during this project will allow improved reliability and quality of various products (medical and Oil&Gas for example). It will allow users to choose the most appropriate technique for their application.

Economic benefits will be seen in a number of areas, especially for the following applications:

Rubber hose wire reinforcement in the Oil and Gas sector. If rubber hose wire reinforcement can be successfully bonded during the vulcanisation process, then design performance can be enhanced by at least a factor of two. This will double a market currently estimated to be 200 millions.

Biomedical products: assuming 10 member companies use one machine for a new product. At production rate of 100,000 per year and part added value plus reduced costs of 5, the estimated increase in turnover is 5M per year.

Industrial Member Report

Access the Industrial Member Report resulting from this programme:

Laser Surface Modification of PEEK and PP for Improved Adhesion and Wettability


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