Innovative Plasma Treatment in Textiles Applications, Advantages & Surface Functionalization

Last Updated on 16/03/2021

Innovative Plasma Treatment in Textiles Applications, Advantages and Surface Functionalization

Nikhil Bhosale1, Vishnu Pareek, Bajirao Jadhav & Shahanawaj Mujawar
Department in Fashion and Clothing Technology,
D.K.T.E Society’s, Textile & Engineering Institute, Ichalkaranji-416115, India.
Email: nikhilbhosale.tex@gmail.com1


“Plasma” word is derived from the Greek and referring to “something molded or fabricated”. Plasma treatments are gaining popularity in the textile industry. Plasma treatment has to be controlled carefully to avoid detrimental action of the plasma onto the substrate. Plasma surface treatments show distinct advantages, because they are able to modify the surface properties of inert materials, sometimes with environment friendly devices. For fabrics, cold plasma treatments require the development of reliable and large systems. Application of “Plasma Technology” in chemical processing of textiles is one of the revolutionary ways to enhance the textile wet processing right from pretreatments to finishing. Treatments on natural, wool and cotton, and on synthetic polymers to improve wetting are shown. Hydrophilic-hydrophobic treatments, dirt-repellent coatings are presented. Low-pressure and atmospheric pressure glow discharge systems are also discussed.

Keywords: Reactive gases, Low Pressure, Atmospheric Plasma, and Textile.

1. Introduction
Partially ionized gas composed of electrons, ions, photons, atoms and molecules, with negative global electric charge. It is called as Plasma Technology. Irving Langmuir first used the term plasma in 1926. Describe the inner region of an electrical discharge. Plasma, as a very reactive material, can be used to modify the surface of a certain substrate typically known as plasma activation or plasma modification. Recent development in the plasma treatment of textile materials has revealed that it has an enormous potential as an alternate technology for the textile processing in terms of cost saving, water saving and ecofriendliness. The individually charged plasma particles respond to electric and magnetic fields and can therefore be manipulated and contained. The atmospheres of most stars, the gas within the glass tubing of neon advertising signs, and the gases of the upper atmosphere of the earth are examples of plasmas. On the earth, plasmas occur naturally in the form of lightning bolts and in parts of flames. Thus, any ionized gas that is composed of nearly equal numbers of negative and positive ions is called plasma.

2. Aims & Objects of Plasma Treatment

  1. It is a simple process which could be easily automated and perfect parameter control.
  2. It is applicable to most of textile materials for surface treatment.
  3. It is dry textile treatment processing without any expenses on effluent treatment.
  4. It is applied for different kinds of textile treatment to generate more novel products to satisfy customer’s need and requirement.

3. Application of Plasma on Textile Fiber
Low-temperature, low-pressure plasma (LTLPP). Low temperature plasmas can generally be subdivided into thermal and non-thermal plasmas here have not, however, been many applications for the treatment of fiber and textile materials. LTLPP technology has been widely investigated for the surface modification of textiles and an overview of such plasma treatments has been published by morentetal.

3.1. Natural Fibers (Wool, Silk, Cotton, Jute, Flax)
Anti Felting Treatment on Wool and Water Repellent Finishing on Cotton. An effective method to modify the surface of natural polymers without changing their bulk properties. Plasma and corona treatment provides new promising features and properties of fibers and fabrics like “fineness” and crease resistance (e.g. Table 1). Plasma and corona treatment provides new promising features and properties of fibers and fabrics like “fineness” and crease resistance.

Table 1. Various Application of Plasma in Textile.

Hydrophilic finishPP, PET, PEOxygen plasma, Air plasma
Hydrophobic finishCotton, P-C blendSiloxane plasma
Antistatic finishRayon, PETPlasma consisting of dimethyl silane
Reduced feltingWoolOxygen plasma
Crease resistanceWool, cottonNitrogen plasma
Improved capillarityWool, cottonOxygen plasma
Improved dyeingPETSiCl4 plasma
Improved depth of shedPolyamideAir plasma
BleachingWoolOxygen plasma
UV protectionCotton/PETHMDSO plasma
Flame retardancyPAN, Cotton, RayonPlasma containing phosphorus

3.2 Artificial Fibers (Viscose, Lyocell)
Separate and dispose of patients plasma and supply fresh plasma. Plasma treatment of viscose fibers increases the kinetics of water sorption of chemical treatment (e.g. Table 1). The swelling time of plasma in comparison to untreated plasma is reduced by the factor of 0.54 and intensity change time by the factor of 0.4.

3.3 Synthetic Fibers (Polyamide, Polyester, Nomex, Glass Fibers, Kevlar, Acrylics, Polypropylene)
Metal-coated organic polymers are used for a variety of applications. Plasma treatment on polyamide is mainly dye ability, wet ability and surface properties. Oxygen and air plasma are used to increase wet ability and dye ability polyethyleneterephthalate (PET) (e.g. Table 1) fibers are used as an enforcing material for a polyethylene (PE) (e.g. Table 1) matrix, the hydrophobization of the PET fibers’ using ethylene plasma is quite impressive since the adhesion strength can be increased from 1 to 2.5 N/mm.

4. Plasma Spraying Technique

4.1 Thermal Spray plasma Process
Thermal plasma is a viscous, electrically and thermally conducting fluid. The unique feature of the thermal plasma jet that distinguishes it from other heat resources is its high power density. The energy density of thermal plasma devices is of the order of several GW/m2, which is 10-100 times the power density of conventional oxy-fuel flames. Although higher power densities are obtainable with electron and laser beams, the source strengths available with these devices, especially laser devices, are not high enough for large-scale material processing applications.

Thermal Spray plasma Process
Fig: Thermal Spray plasma Process

4.2 Atmospheric pressure plasma jets (APTJ)
Atmospheric pressure plasma jets (APTJ) are well-known in the plasma chemistry community because of their novel applications. Most flexible of all the thermal spray processes, with sufficient energy to melt any material. Excellent control of coating thickness and surface characteristics such as porosity and hardness The atmospheric plasma spray process is used for wear and corrosion protection, thermal insulation, repair, and restoration. As it is the most flexible of all thermal spray processes coatings, can be applied onto all suitable base materials with the widest variety of powders In this contribution, an APPJ will be used to modify the surface of non-woven textiles. The pretreatment and finishing of textiles by plasma technologies becomes more and more applied as a surface modification technique since it possesses several advantages over conventional chemical processes. In this work, an atmospheric pressure plasma jet (APPJ) in pure argon will be used to modify the surface of PET non-woven textiles. Afterwards, the influence of water vapour addition on these plasma characteristics will be briefly mentioned. Plasma treatment can result in changes of a variety of surface characteristics, for example, chemical, tribological, electrical, optical, biological, and mechanical.

Atmospheric pressure plasma jets
Fig: Atmospheric pressure plasma jets

4.3 Multi Coat System Platform for Plasma Spray
Multi Coat Plasma runs plasma single and triple cathode guns. Our specialized software interfaces with your work piece database, data logging, and maintenance schedules to configure and optimize the hardware for your specific process. Runs two parallel plasma processes simultaneously Upgrades with enhancements to monitoring, controlling, safety, and quick spray gun changing. Accommodates a wide range of plasma spray guns, material feeders, and power sources.

Multi Coat System for Plasma Spray
Fig: Multi Coat System for Plasma Spray

5. Application of Plasma in Textile Processing
Plasma technology have been used textile materials, resulting in improvements to textile products. It can improve the functionality of textile materials such as:

a. Improved Pretreatment Process: Plasma can be applied to grey fabric which make subsequent removal of impurities easier e.g. Desizing efficiency of cotton would increase by application of atmospheric plasma treatment.

b. Improved Dyeing and Printing: Capillarity in wool and cotton, with treatment in oxygen plasma. Improved dyeing polyester with SiCl4-plasma and for polyamide with Are-plasma.

c. Enhance Wet Ability: Surface Modification of Fabrics Using a One-Atmosphere Glow Discharge Plasma to Improve Fabric Wet ability. Improvement of surface wetting in synthetic polymers (PA, PE, PP, PET PTFE) with treatment in O2-, air-, NH3-plasma. There are a lot of investigations on plasma treatment of some textile fibers for changing their wet ability properties. For examples, polyester, polypropylene, wool that plasma treatment can improve the ability of these fibers to retain moisture or water droplets on their surface.

d. Hydrophobic Finishing: The treatment of cotton fiber with identified plasma gas such as hexamethyldisiloxane (HMDSO) leads to a smooth surface with increased contact angle of water. The treatment gives strong effect of hydrophobization of treated cotton fiber.

e. Product Quality: Felting is an essential issue of wool garment due to the fiber scales. Conventional anti-felting gives negative effects on hand feel and environmental issues. Oxygen plasma gives anti-felting effect on wool fiber without incurring traditional issues.

f. Applications in Biology and Medicine: Fabric favoring overgrowth with cells for cell culture tests, fermentation or implants. Fabric not favoring overgrowth with cells for catheters, membranes, enzyme immobilization, sterilization.

g. Adhesion: Plasma technology can increase adhesion of chemical coating and enhance dye affinity of textile materials.

6. Advantages of Plasma in Textile:

  1. Advantage of Plasma Desizing: Desizing with plasma technology involves use of either O2/He plasma or Air/He plasma so there is no need of hot water and chemical.
  2. Advantage of Plasma Treatment of Wool: Plasma treatment can impart anti-felting effect degreasing, improved dyestuff absorption and increasing wetting properties.
  3. Advantage of Plasma Dyeing: It has been reported that plasma treatment on cotton in presence of air or argon gas increases its water absorbency which in turn increase both the rate of dyeing and the direct dye uptake in the absence of electrolyte in the dye bath. In the synthetic fibers, plasma causes etching of the fiber and the introduction of polar groups leading to improvement in dye ability.
  4. Advantage of Plasma Finishing: Functionality and properties can be imparted to both natural fibers and polymers, as well as to non-woven fabrics, without having any adverse effect on their internal structures. This leads to produce various types of functional textiles.

7. Results and Discussion

Example 1: Water repellent polyaramide fabric

The data in the table demonstrates that a fluorocarbon plasma treatment can reduce the soaking of fabrics in a similar way like a traditional impregnation. However, in contrast to the wet treatment, the fabric retains its flexibility after the plasma treatment.

TreatmentWater absorption,%

Example 2: Water repellent cotton, hemp

Cotton or hemp fabric usually absorbs water immediately. Applying a low-pressure plasma process, the fiber’s surface can be altered to make it repell water. After the treatment, drops run freely over the surface while mechanical properties, the visual appearance, and the permeability for water vapor remain unchanged. The surface modification is limited to a very thin layer. A treatment as short as 2 seconds can be sufficient to achieve this effect in a batch process. Continuous treatments with a speed of more than 20 m/min are conceivable.

The stability of the modification can be seen in intermitted washing cycles of fluorocarbon treated cotton fabric. After an initial drop, the finishing remains stable for at least two hours at 95°C. The quality of the repellent effect is evaluated by putting water drops to the fabric surface. A value of 1 means that the drops run freely over the surface and do not penetrate into the material while at a value of 3 the water does not penetrate but it needs vibrations to move the drop. Obviously this evaluation depends also on the nature of the fabric.

Example 3: Wet ability improvement

In oxygen plasma the number of functional groups at the surface can be increased. The increased polarity makes the material more wettable which can be used to improve dying and sizing.

In the table we summarized examples where various polyamide fabrics were oxidized. The effect of the treatment was checked by a water rise test, i.e. a strip of the fabric was put into water end the time was measured until the water rise up 3 cm.

The test was repeated a certain time after the treatment. The results show a good stability of the treatment.

Water rise time (s):

MaterialUntreatedTreatedTreated, after 80 days
PA 196s16s18s
PA 218s7s10s
PA 3558s51s78s

Example 4: Adhesion improvement in laminates and composites

In an oxygen plasma the number of functional groups at the surface can be increased which can improve the adhesion to other material. The results are stronger laminates and better composite materials.

As an example, there are results of lamentation tests with polyester fabric. (PES)

MaterialTreatmentPeel force N/10 mmFabric tailor

8. Conclusion
Let us conclude the textile industry is searching for innovative production techniques to improve the product quality, as well as society requires new techniques and this type of high-performance textile will certainly grow in economic importance. working in environmental respect various. Application of Plasma in Textile Processing and also textile fiber. Plasma functionalized textile surfaces of Water / oil repellence, Adhesion, Protection. The finished textile shows better performance and improved colour fastness properties. Key future applications such as special selective innovation, value creation, biocompatibility, and growing of biological tissues.


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