Plasma is an efficient, eco-responsible and cost effective solution for surface treatment
What is plasma state?
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 intake.
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 are used while performing a surface treatment operation, the latter take part in very fast chemical reactions.
Depending on how was created plasma and the considered use of it, the temperature of the gaseous environment may remain quite low, close to room temperature, or peak to 1000°C. The terms of cold plasma or thermal plasma are therefore considered.
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 in low pressure conditions, plasma state must be obtained through a vacuum chamber coupled to a pumping system in order to reach a pressure lower than the atmospheric pressure. This setting opens great possibilities as of surface treatment, however the length of pumping phases if more than often a drawback that limits potential deployments on an industrial scale.
When in atmospheric conditions, plasma state is obtained with specifically designed processes and devices encompassing this very condition. These parameters provide a considerable cost-effective asset: 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.