Surface Treatment of Materials for Adhesion Bonding by Sina Ebnesajjad and Cyrus Ebnesajjad by Sina Ebnesajjad and Cyrus Ebnesajjad - Read Online

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Surface Treatment of Materials for Adhesion Bonding - Sina Ebnesajjad

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Part I

Background and Theory

Introduction to Surface Preparation

1.1 Definition of Surface Preparation, Adhesives, and Adhesive Bonding

Surface preparation or treatment is defined as one or a series of operations including cleaning, removal of loose material, and physical and/or chemical modification of a surface to which an adhesive is applied for the purpose of bonding. In plastics bonding, surface preparation is aimed at increasing the surface polarity, improving surface wettability, and creating sites for adhesive bonding. Metal surfaces are typically covered with oxide layers, rendering the surface highly polar and fit for good adhesive bonding. Surface preparation is intended to enhance the bonding strength to metal surfaces and, primarily, to improve the durability of the bond, especially when exposed to humid environments.

An adhesive is a material applied to surfaces of articles to permanently join them by a bonding process. An adhesive is a substance capable of forming bonds to each of the two or more parts comprising the final object.[1] A feature of adhesives is the relatively small quantities required relative to the weight of the final object.

An entirely satisfactory definition for adhesion has not been found. The following definition has been proposed by Wu.[2] Adhesion refers to the state in which two dissimilar bodies are held together by intimate interfacial contact such that mechanical force or work can be transferred across the interface. The interfacial forces holding the two phases together may arise from van der Waals forces, chemical bonding, or electrostatic attraction. The mechanical strength of the system is determined not only by the interfacial forces, but also by the mechanical properties of the interfacial zone and the two bulk phases.

The primary function of adhesives is to join parts together. Adhesives accomplish this goal by transmitting stresses from one member to another in a manner that distributes the stresses much more uniformly than mechanical fasteners. Adhesive bonding often provides structures that are mechanically equivalent to, or stronger than, conventional assemblies at lower cost and weight. In mechanical fastening, the strength of the structure is limited to that of the areas in contact with the fasteners.[3] It is not unusual to obtain adhesive bonds that are stronger than the strength of the adherends (surfaces that are to be bonded together).

1.2 Introduction to Surface Treatment

The main reasons for applying surface treatments prior to bonding are:

1). To remove or prevent the later formation of a weak layer on the surface of the substrate.

2). To maximize the degree of molecular interaction between the adhesive or primer and the substrate surface.

3). To optimize the adhesion forces that develop across the interfaces and therefore insure sufficient joint strength, initially and during the service life of the bond.

4). To create specific surface microstructure on the substrate.

Normally, optimum surface energy and structure is achieved by chemical surface treatment. The chemical composition and the morphology of the surface are altered so that the surface energy of the substrate is maximized for adhesion. Chemical treatments also increase the chances that hydrogen, dipole, van der Waals ionic, and/or covalent bonding can form at the substrate/adhesive interface. A quick and dirty test for adequate chemical treatment is to place a bead of water on the surface of the part and note if the water spreads. If so, the contact angle it forms with the surface is very small. There are special fluids called dyne liquids that can fairly precisely bracket the numeric value of the surface energy of a material surface.

Alternative methods to chemical treatment (with similar surface changes) include plasma, corona, and flame treatment methods. These methods act in ways similar to chemical treatments with less hazardous waste generation. Mechanical abrasion is another means of surface preparation. This method is superior to other methods due to the simplicity of the process and significantly less waste generation. Mechanical abrasion works by providing a clean surface and increasing the contact area between the substrate and adhesive. In ordinary gluing of objects, these methods are not needed since optimal adhesion is not always necessary. When a strong adhesion bond is necessary, the minimum required surface preparation is cleaning and removal of dirt and grease from the contact surfaces.

To give the reader an idea of the basic surface treatment methods, short descriptions of degreasing, abrasion, and chemical treatments are given in this chapter. These and the more complex methods have been described in great detail in Chs. 6, 7, and 8.

1.2.1 Degreasing

Removal of all traces of oily contamination and grease from substrate surfaces is vital to the formation of strong adhesive bonds. Different methods are available for degreasing, which should be carried out even if the contact surfaces appear clean.

A part may be submerged in a pure, uncontaminated solvent such as trichloroethylene or perchloroethylene vapors. As the vapors condense on the part, contaminants are dissolved and drip off with the condensed solvent. When a vapor-degreasing unit is not available, the joint surfaces can be wiped with a cloth soaked with trichloroethylene, followed by complete evaporation from the joint surfaces. These solvents are toxic both in liquid and vapor form, and require a well ventilated work environment.

Another technique consists of scrubbing the joint surfaces in a solution of detergent. Metals can be immersed in or sprayed with an alkaline degreasing agent followed by rinsing with clean, hot water, and thorough drying by hot air, steam, or ambient air.

Ultrasonic degreasing produces excellent results for small components. Trichloroethylene, acetone, methylene chloride, and tetrachloroethylene are among good solvents for ultrasonic degreasing. An effective solvent is 1, 1, 1-trichloroethane because of its low toxicity and flammability. Alcohol, gasoline, or paint thinners are not recommended. To verify the cleanliness of a surface after degreasing, water or dyne liquids are used. If a drop of water forms a film on the surface, the surface is free from contamination, and if the drop retains its shape, degreasing of the surface must be repeated.

1.2.2 Abrasion

Surfaces roughened by abrasion usually form stronger adhesive joints than do highly polished surfaces, primarily due to larger contact surface areas. A properly abraded surface should not contain any smooth or polished areas. Abrasion treatment should be followed by a second degreasing treatment to ensure the removal of loose particles. Grit-blasting removes surface deposits such as tarnish, rust, or mill scale from metal surfaces. If grit-blasting equipment is not available or the metal is too thin to withstand blast treatment, clean the joint surfaces with a wire-brush, emery cloth, or sandpaper. Painted surfaces should be stripped down to substrate with a stripper prior to preparation to insure the strength of the adhesive joint.

1.2.3 Chemical Treatment

Degreasing alone or followed by abrasion and further degreasing is sufficient for many adhesive bonds. To obtain maximum strength, reproducibility, and resistance to deterioration, however, a chemical or electrolytic pretreatment is required. Careful attention should be paid in the preparation of chemical solutions to assure correct proportioning of components required for formation of adequate bond strengths. Exposure time in the solution application is critical. If the application is too short, it does not sufficiently activate the surfaces, while overexposure to the solution builds up a layer of chemical reaction products that may interfere with the adhesion bond formation.

Some of the surface preparation treatments use chemicals that have serious health effects unless used with extreme caution. As with all chemicals, consult the MSDS before using. Organic solvents must be handled with care since their use may cause a fire and/or toxic hazard. Read the material safety data sheet before handling. Acids and sodium hydroxide are aggressive (corrosive) chemicals. Always wear protective clothing and a face shield when using them. Read material safety data sheets of all materials before