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Plasma technology

In developed countries, the market condition for adding extra value to advanced functional textiles such as high water, soil, and oil repellency or higher fibre resistance against aggressive chemicals is rising. However, in the industry, conventional textile finishing are wet chemical modifications were highly hazardous chemicals are mixed with large quantities of water. This demands wastewater to be processed before discharging effluent, whereas the most problematic factors are ecological impacts to the environment and human health. The increasing environmental concerns and demand for new and friendly processing of textile’s technology forces development of innovative advanced methods that cannot be achieved by these conventional processes.  An eco-friendly technology and step towards creating solid surfaces with improved properties can be found is plasma technology.

Plasma (is the fourth state of matter) is a gas with a certain portion of ionized as well other reactive particles, e.g. photons, electrons, ions, etc.  There are several different types of plasma known, nevertheless, only cold plasma (non-equilibrium) is used for the modification of physical and chemical properties of solid materials such as textiles. The unique property of cold plasma is the minimal thermal degradation of a textile substrate during the processing. Unlike wet chemical processes, which penetrate deep into the fibres, plasma produces no more than a surface reaction, the properties given to the material being limited to the surface layer of a few Nanometres. The advantages of using plasma are ecological and economical.

Plasma causes a textile substrates modification that enables different effects on the surfaces; for example, super-repellent to oil, water, and soil. Furthermore, for the synthesis of Nanostructures, removal of thin films of organic impurities, selective etching of composites, sterilization, passivation of metal, etching of photoresists, functional of polymers, etc. A positive side effect of the plasma treatments is the ability for cleaning of the fibre surface. Fibre lubricants, sizing agents, soil and other residuals are burned off. See also surface design, microfibre and fibre morphology


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