Physical vapor deposition (PVD) of chromium coatings represents an interesting alternative to electroplating to obtain metallized plastic parts for a variety of manufacturing sectors. This process is however hampered by the limited adhesion of the metallic layer on the underlying polymeric substrates. Within this context, PVD metallization of polypropylene substrates has so far been particularly challenging given the low surface energy and poor wettability of this commodity plastics. To address this issue, a comprehensive approach is proposed here to enable the production of PVD-metallized PP substrates with excellent and stable interlayer adhesion. The adhesive properties of the PP substrate are modified by a selective UV-induced photografting process in which vinyl-, glycidyl- or 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate species are covalently attached to the PP surface, as confirmed by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and surface wettability measurements. Based on the chemistry of the photografted functionality, different resin systems are selected and investigated for use as primers to enable subsequent chromium deposition, including acrylic, epoxy and polyurethane systems. The effect of the photografting process on the adhesion between PP and the primers is systematically assessed by means of pull-off tests, highlighting a significant improvement of the adhesion force after surface functionalization with appropriate grafting agents. Finally, functionalized PP substrates are chromated through PVD, obtaining homogeneous and crack-free chromium surfaces upon judicious selection of suitable primer-grafting agent combinations. This also led to outstanding interlayer adhesion and micromechanical performance. This work provides the first demonstration of chromium-metallization of PP substrates via PVD for metallized plastic components with excellent surface characteristics, and paves the path for the design of mechanically durable and aesthetically-compliant PVD-metallized PP components.

Metallization of polypropylene substrates through surface functionalization and physical vapor deposition of chromium coatings / N. Fumagalli, J.C. de Haro Sanchez, C.L. Bianchi, S. Turri, G. Griffini. - In: SURFACE & COATINGS TECHNOLOGY. - ISSN 0257-8972. - 484:(2024), pp. 130880.1-130880.10. [10.1016/j.surfcoat.2024.130880]

Metallization of polypropylene substrates through surface functionalization and physical vapor deposition of chromium coatings

C.L. Bianchi
Validation
;
2024

Abstract

Physical vapor deposition (PVD) of chromium coatings represents an interesting alternative to electroplating to obtain metallized plastic parts for a variety of manufacturing sectors. This process is however hampered by the limited adhesion of the metallic layer on the underlying polymeric substrates. Within this context, PVD metallization of polypropylene substrates has so far been particularly challenging given the low surface energy and poor wettability of this commodity plastics. To address this issue, a comprehensive approach is proposed here to enable the production of PVD-metallized PP substrates with excellent and stable interlayer adhesion. The adhesive properties of the PP substrate are modified by a selective UV-induced photografting process in which vinyl-, glycidyl- or 2-hydroxyethyl methacrylate species are covalently attached to the PP surface, as confirmed by Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and surface wettability measurements. Based on the chemistry of the photografted functionality, different resin systems are selected and investigated for use as primers to enable subsequent chromium deposition, including acrylic, epoxy and polyurethane systems. The effect of the photografting process on the adhesion between PP and the primers is systematically assessed by means of pull-off tests, highlighting a significant improvement of the adhesion force after surface functionalization with appropriate grafting agents. Finally, functionalized PP substrates are chromated through PVD, obtaining homogeneous and crack-free chromium surfaces upon judicious selection of suitable primer-grafting agent combinations. This also led to outstanding interlayer adhesion and micromechanical performance. This work provides the first demonstration of chromium-metallization of PP substrates via PVD for metallized plastic components with excellent surface characteristics, and paves the path for the design of mechanically durable and aesthetically-compliant PVD-metallized PP components.
Adhesion; Chromium; Metal on plastics; Physical vapor deposition; Polypropylene; UV-photografting
Settore CHIM/04 - Chimica Industriale
2024
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/1049908
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