Plasma is an efficient, eco-responsible and cost effective solution for surface treatment
What is plasma ?
Plasma is often called the« 4th state of matter ». Unlike solid, liquid matters or gas – all of which can be found naturally in the environment, plasma state can only be obtained when submitting a gas to a continuous energy source.
As an example: plasma state can be achieved when placing 2 electrodes into a gaseous environment, then maintaining electrical tension to generate a discharge. This action creates an ionised environment containing many highly reactive species, including ions (charged either positively or negatively) and excited or meta-stable molecules.
The properties of the reactive species obtained cause very fast chemical reactions that are used for surface treatment.
Depending on how the plasma was created and the intended use , the temperature of the gaseous environment may remain quite low, close to room temperature, or peak to 1000°C, hence the terms cold plasma or thermal plasma.
Cold plasma or thermal plasma?
Atmospheric pressure plasma or low-pressure plasma?
Plasma can be generated in low pressure conditions or with atmospheric pressure.
When under low pressure, plasma must be obtained through a vacuum chamber coupled to a pumping system in order to reach a pressure lower than the atmospheric pressure. This allows many possibilities for surface treatment. However the length of the vacuum generation phase is more often than not a drawback that limits its potential use on an industrial scale.
When under atmospheric conditions, plasma is obtained using systems and processes designed for this very purpose. This provides a considerable cost-effective advantage: no investment is required to purchase a vacuum chamber and pumping system, and the specific equipment smoothly integrates into the actual production lines, hence increasing the manufacturing productivity.