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From Inert to Active – Polymer Surface Activation Characterized by the Zeta Potential

Polymers are abundant in many fields of materials science and engineering. Be it as a starting material for the development of novel polymeric products, as part of a multi-component system, or as a coating for a material surface finish.

1 Introduction

Polymers are widely used in many industrial applications. Despite of their well-suited bulk properties, the direct use of polymers is often limited by their inert surface. A modification or activation of the polymer surface prior to further processing is then required to enhance polymer wettability, printability, or adhesion.

Industrial processes for polymer surface treatment like flame treatment, corona discharge and plasma activation may be employed to activate a polymer surface. The effect of surface treatment is commonly qualified by using test inks. However, for more quantitative information about surface functional groups that prove responsible for polymer surface activation, a surface-sensitive analytical method is required.

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