Corona treatment is a high frequency discharge that increases the adhesion of a plastic surface. Whether a liquid wets a material good or poorly depends primarily on the chemical nature of both the liquid and the substrate. Wetting is defined as the ratio between the surface energies of the liquid and substrate. In general the following rule is true: “A material will be wetted, if it’s surface energy (dyne/cm) is higher than the surface energy of the liquid. If not, there will be an adhesion problem.
How to avoid adhesion problems
The pre-treatment offered by Corona treatment is necessary to obtain sufficient wetting and adhesion on plastic films or metallic foils before the printing, laminating or coating. A Corona discharge unit is the solution to optimize the wetting and adhesion. This Corona technique has proved to be both highly effective, cost-effective and can take place in-line.
What is corona treatment?
Plastic is a man-made synthetic material, which contains long homogeneous molecular chains that form a strong and uniform product. The chains of molecules are normally joined end to end forming even longer chains, leaving only a few open chain ends, thus providing only a small amount of bonding points at the surface. The small amount of bonding points cause the low adhesion and wettability, which is a problem in converting processes.
During corona discharge treatment, electrons are accelerated into the surface of the plastic causing the long chains to rupture, producing a multiplicity of open ends and free valences are formed.
The ozone from the electrical discharge creates an oxygenation, which in turn forms new carbonyl groups with a higher surface energy. The result is an improvement of the chemical connection (dyne/cm) between the molecules in the plastic and the applied media/liquid. This surface treatment will not reduce or change the strength. Neither will it change the appearance of the material. The Corona only changes the top molecule chains, which is 0.00001 micron thick.
Determination of treatment level
The effectiveness of the Corona treatment depends on the specific material being used. Different materials have different characteristics and different amounts of slip and additives, which will determine the effect of the Corona treatment. There are no limits with regard to the materials that can be corona treated.
Over time the obtained dyne-level will decrease and it can be necessary to corona treat the material again just before use. Storage conditions and temperatures can affect the decay of the corona treatment.