Everything you need to understand plasma technology all in one place.
Welcome to the Henniker Plasma Knowledge Base.
Already established as a leading manufacturer of plasma treatment systems, we pride ourselves on our expertise and in-depth process knowledge. We have a varied number of media tools and scientific articles in our database which we have made freely available.
We are passionate about plasma® and we would like to share it with you!
QAHow do I measure the effectiveness of plasma treatment?
From the definitions above, a measurement of surface wetting or surface energy can indicate the effectiveness of plasma treatment. We provide a range of measurement techniques including surface energy test inks and pens as well as contact angle measurement instruments, which measure the shape and angle of a drop of liquid in contact with the surface.
QAWhat is a Plasma?
Solid, liquid and gas are the three states of matter we are all familiar with. We can move between the states by adding or removing energy (e.g. heating/cooling). If we continue to add enough energy (for a plasma, we add electrical energy), gas molecules will become ionised (lose one or more electrons) and so carry a net positive charge. If enough molecules are ionised to affect the overall electrical characteristics of the gas the result is called a plasma. Plasmas are, therefore, quite rightly, often referred to as the fourth state of matter.
A plasma contains positive ions, electrons, neutral gas atoms or molecules, UV light and also excited gas atoms and molecules, which can carry a large amount of internal energy (plasmas glow because the light is emitted as these excited neutral particles relax to a lower energy state). All of these species can and do interact with any surface placed in contact with the plasma. By choosing the gas mixture, power and other conditions we can quite precisely tune, or specify, the effects of the plasma upon the surface.
QAWhat does a Plasma Treatment do?
Plasma treatment modifies the surface of an object. It doesn’t affect the object in any other way and doesn’t change the bulk of the material at all. We can ‘tune’ the plasma to change the adhesion characteristics of the surface. We can make the surface easier to bond, print onto, glue etc. We can also introduce a range of other surface properties such as liquid repellency or low friction.
QAHow does the Plasma do that?
The plasma creates reactive molecules, electrons, ions and UV light. These interact in various ways with a surface. Organic contamination, in the form of long-chain hydrocarbons, can be broken down by the plasma and removed from the surface, leaving an ultra-clean surface. On polymers, the plasma also breaks surface bonds, and then terminates these bonds with oxygen-containing polar molecules, greatly improving the adhesion characteristics of the material by improving its wettability. The 4 major effects of plasma are;
Surface cleaning: removal of hydrocarbons which impede adhesion
Micro-sandblasting: which increases the surface area and therefore wettability
Cross-linking or branching of surface molecules: which impedes the migration of waxy additives from the bulk material to the surface
Modification of surface chemical structure: to increase the surface energy and render a surface wettable and also to impart other specific functionality such as liquid repellency
QAWhich materials can benefit from plasma treatment?
Nearly all materials can benefit from plasma treatment. Metals, glass and ceramics can all be rendered ultra-clean. Polymers and rubbers can all be made easier to glue, print, paint and bond and the final mechanical bond strength is usually greatly enhanced. We can also treat powders, textiles, fabrics, and composite materials.
"The technical team at Henniker are very knowledgeable and supportive and always approachable. I have found it a pleasure to work with them."
Simon Baxter - BAE Systems, MAI
"Henniker guided us to choose the most suitable plasma unit for our application, ensured an accelerated delivery time & guided us through the very easy setup. We obtained quality results with their unit within minutes of setup & consistent results thereafter. The support they have provided has been rapid and helpful."
Dr Ravi Desai - Making Lab, Francis Crick Institute
"Henniker provided our team with excellent service during the course of our work together, the plasma cleaner arrived quickly and was installed with ease, giving us visible results from the outset and confirming that we made the right decision in choosing a local UK manufacturer."
Dr Panagiotis Manesiotis BSc MRSC - Queen’s University Belfast
"Our customers and operations demand reliability at every level and were a key factor in our decision to choose a UK based manufacturer of plasma treatment equipment."
Tom Doak - Trak Microwave
"Henniker’s after sales support is first class. They have always been extremely responsive if we have ever had need to call on them."
Steve Rackham - Teledyne
"Henniker’s plasma systems have delivered tangible benefits to us right from day one. The team there are very easy to work with."
Ian Bruce - Coopervision
"Henniker really stood out, both in their product range and technical knowledge. They are a great company to work with."
Karthik Nair - University of Bradford
"We are very impressed with the ease of use and reliability of our plasma unit and were producing results within minutes of setting it up."
Dr Neil Wilson - Warwick University
"Our collaborative work with the team at Henniker was a very positive experience and one that we look forward to developing further."
Ewen Kellar - TWI
"Henniker provided a tailored product to match our exact requirements. They are a pleasure to work with."
Dr Will Shu - Heriot Watt University
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