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Inhance’s Fluoro-Seal Process™ and Reactive Gas Technology™ operate at negative pressure. This provides us with the unique capability to modify products of any shape and size — from micron-sized particles to very large exterior and interior surfaces, films, sheets, textiles, profiles, and complex molded parts.
Our performance enhancement processes can be performed in small or large batches, or continuously, based on our customers’ desired outcomes and circumstances.
Since the actual compositional changes to the products are very modest, treated materials retain not only their overall bulk composition but also the same recyclable properties as the original materials.
Inhance’s technologies activate material surfaces via a reactive gas mixture, including elemental fluorine. Fluorine’s high reactivity oxidizing power, and the electronegativity of the fluoride ion (F-), facilitate a variety of chemical reactions on treated surfaces.
Fluorine may be combined with oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N2), carbon dioxide (CO2), and other gases to tailor the surface chemistry and the resulting product’s performance.
Depending upon the composition of the gas mixture, their concentrations, and the duration and temperature of the process, the surface properties of a wide array of materials can be altered to enhance performance and functionality. Such enhancements include, for example, increased hydrocarbon barrier properties, reduced friction coefficients, increased hydrophilicity, increased wettability or enhanced adhesion abilities.
Inhance’s Fluoro-Seal Process™, sometimes referred to as “surface fluorination,” is used to impart hydrocarbon barrier properties to plastics.
This process imparts barrier properties to plastics in several ways:
The desired barrier performance is accomplished by controlling the degree of fluorine substitution. This requires consideration of plastic material composition, additives and other materials present, the container or tank characteristics, the expected storage conditions, and the composition of the liquid to be contained.
Inhance has developed special methods to achieve optimum barrier performance without causing undesired degradation and decomposition reactions. Careful maintenance and control of the relative gas mixture, the reaction temperature, and the exposure time enables the formations of very stable covalent carbon-fluorine (C-F) bonds to a surface depth of several nanometers.
The change in weight loss of some selected solvents as a result of our Fluoro-Seal Process™ is shown in the table below.
(grams / liter / day)
|1,1,1 - Trichlotoethane||10.5||0.03|
The functionality of numerous polymers is limited by their low surface energy, notably evident in applications involving adhesive bonding, coating, and printing.
While highly effective barriers are produced with elemental fluorine, a broader array of effects can be produced using additional reactant gases. This is the basis of Inhance’s Reactive Gas Technology™.
The presence of additional gas reactants results in the formation of other polar, functional moieties that increase the polarity and the surface energy of treated polymers. This provides basis for tailored material surface properties, including increased wettability and hydrophilicity, and tenacious adhesion of polar materials to less polar and non-reactive untreated surfaces.
Unlike other surface treatments such as flame treatment, corona, and plasma, the surface energy and chemistry changes from Inhance’s proprietary Reactive Gas Technology™ are long lasting because covalent bonds are formed. Reactive Gas Technology™ also uniquely provides a smooth surface topology, or low roughness.
The change in the surface energy of some selected materials as a result of our Reactive Gas Technology™ is shown in the table below.
|MATERIAL||SURFACE ENERGY IN DYNE/CM|
Surface energy before and after the Fluoro-Seal Process