Plasma Treatment to Improve the Surface Properties of Recycled Post-Consumer PVC

Plasma treatment of plastics – Improve the Surface Properties of Recycled PVC

Feature Article - Plasma Processes and Polymers Journal Illustration

Plasma treatment of plastics and in this case PVC (Poly (vinyl chloride) is commonly used to alter the surface energy properties improving adhesion prior to painting, gluing and printing.

This recently published article explores the novel use of plasma treatment to lower the surface energy of recycled post-consumer PVC to create a surface material more comparable to that of virgin PVC.

Recycled PVC is used in the production of medical hospital products, automobile and electronic parts and utensils, toys, window sashes, flooring and coatings, several types of packaging, outdoor furniture, pipes and connections, all requiring fundamental water repellent properties found within PVC.

‘Polymer recycling produces materials whose properties are generally considered inferior to those of virgin material.’

The recycling of the PVC causes the material to produce hydrophilic properties, due to the thermal degradation that occurs when the recycling process takes place. Here the paper discusses how the use of plasma treatment can not only bring the material properties in line with that of the original but are also able to obtain higher contact angles & improved abrasion resistance when compared to the untreated virgin material.

Plasma Treatment to Improve the Surface Properties of Recycled Post-Consumer PVC

Journal screenshot - 'plasma treatment to improve surface properties plastic pvc plastics'


Recycled post-consumer and virgin PVC were treated using SF6 radiofrequency plasmas of different powers (30–80 W) and exposure times (2–30 min). The treatment converted the hydrophilic PVC into hydrophobic. It was then determined the effect of the optimized treatment (2 min, 80 W, 120°) on the chemical composition, molecular structure, roughness, electrical resistivity and abrasion resistance. There was replacement of C, Cl and H atoms by F resulting in a structure that can no longer be characterized as PVC and explains the low surface wettability and its temporal stability. Upon the optimized treatment condition, it was possible to obtain recycled PVC with similar roughness and surface electrical resistivity but with higher contact angle and abrasion resistance than the untreated virgin material.


  • hydrophobicity
  • plasma treatment
  • poly(vinyl chloride) (PVC)
  • recycling
  • surfaces

Please click here to find the full article on the Wiley publication site

 Full Paper – Plasma Treatment to Improve the Surface Properties of Recycled Post-Consumer PVC Sabrina Moretto Darbello Prestes1,*, Sandro Donnini Mancini1, Elidiane Cipriano Rangel1, Nilson Cristino da Cruz1, Wido Herwig Schreiner2 and Antonio Rodolfo Junior3
Article first published online: 30 DEC 2014 DOI: 10.1002/ppap.201400086



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