Polyurethane/urea copolymers based on poly(ethylene glycol) (PURPEG) were exposed to weakly ionized, highly reactive low-pressure oxygen plasma to improve their sorption kinetics. The plasma was sustained with an inductively coupled radiofrequency generator operating at various power levels in either E-mode (up to the forward power of 300 W) or H-mode (above 500 W). The treatments that used H-mode caused nearly instant thermal degradation of the polymer samples. The density of the charged particles in E-mode was on the order of 1016 m-3, which prevented material destruction upon plasma treatment, but the density of neutral O-atoms in the ground state was on the order of 1021 m-3. The evolution of plasma characteristics during sample treatment in E-mode was determined by optical emission spectroscopy; surface modifications were determined by water adsorption kinetics and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy; and etching intensity was determined by residual gas analysis. The results showed moderate surface functionalization with hydroxyl and carboxyl/ester groups, weak etching at a rate of several nm/s, rather slow activation down to a water contact angle of 30° and an ability to rapidly absorb water.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Polymers and Plastics