Plasma-polymerized thiophene films for enhanced rubber-steel bonding

James L. Delattre, Riccardo D'Agostino, Francesco Fracassi

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Thin films of plasma-polymerized thiophene (PPTh) were deposited on cold-rolled steel substrates to improve adhesion to rubber compounds. PPTh films were characterized by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and atomic force microscopy. The ratio of carbon-to-sulfur found in PPTh films is 4:1, suggesting the monomer structure is generally intact, which was supported by FT-IR absorptions characteristic of polymerized thiophene rings. However, some fragmentation did occur to give acetylenic and aliphatic groups. Steel-rubber adhesion measurements, performed in accordance with the ASTM 429-B peel test, strongly depended on cleaning and pretreatment methods as well as film thickness. Best results were obtained on polished steel samples that were cleaned with acid, pretreated with a hydrogen/argon plasma, then coated with 50 Å of PPTh film. These samples exhibited a peel force of 14.3 N/mm, which is comparable to that of polished brass control samples. Depth-profiling XPS analysis of the rubber-steel interface showed the existence of an iron sulfide layer which is likely responsible for the strong adhesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3912-3919
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Surface Science
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 15 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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