Dow Corning introduces surface engineering platform

Aug. 8, 2006 – Dow Corning Corp.’s Plasma Solutions Business introduced its PlasmaStream platform, which the company says can be used to coat virtually any surface to improve such characteristics as adhesion, waterproofing, low-friction slickness, or anti-microbial properties.

“The PlasmaStream benefits manufacturers of 3-dimensional, rigid or molded parts where surface or interface functionality can add value to their product,” said Andy Goodwin, Dow Corning’s program manager, in a prepared statement. “By providing new capabilities in terms of the variety and performance of functional coatings, product designers and engineers have new opportunities to customize the surface properties of a substrate, providing added value and competitive differentiation.”

For example, plastics used in automotive components, medical devices and microelectronics typically are difficult to bond, glue, coat or laminate. But Dow Corning says its PlasmaStream can deposit an ultra-thin plasma polymerized primer film, customized to the chemistries of the specific plastic materials, to deliver adhesion, bond strength and durability, even in harsh environments.

“While designed to be a mainstream manufacturing tool, PlasmaStream’s versatility and cost effectiveness make it suitable for R&D and pilot production as well,” said Goodwin. “This technology provides customers with options as they seek to further innovate their products.”

In addition to new or improved product performance, Dow Corning says the platform reduces manufacturing costs by eliminating process steps, such as drying and curing. The company maintains that the technology is environment-friendly, uses no water and is energy efficient since it operates at or near room temperatures, needs no solvents or surfactants, and has negligible waste disposal and recycling needs.

Its versatility in delivering many engineered surface functions is achieved by the use of a liquid precursor which is atomized and sprayed into the plasma jet, a Dow Corning patented process. A jet of cool plasma covers substrates with a uniform coating only tens of nanometers thick that chemically bonds to the underlying material.

PlasmaStream’s precursor polymerization and coating process is designed to be gentler than conventional plasma deposition processes which typically damage or destroy the precursor molecules, along with their functionality and value.


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