Plasma Cleaning - Functional Principle
Different mechanisms are at work when plasma acts to clean a surface:
- Oxygen (O2) plasma reacts with molecules deposited on the surface of the workpiece, breaking them down, and turning them into volatile compounds. Oxygen plasma (O2 plasma) is especially effective to clean surfaces from grease and oil. It is also a strong disinfectant.
- Hydrogen Plasma (H2) is a powerful reducing agent. Hydrogen plasma is used to clean metals from oxide films.
- Unlike oxygen and hydrogen, argon (Ar) is not chemically reactive, but the comparatively heavy argon ions generated in the plasma exercise a micro-sandblast effect where they hit the surface. This will plasma clean and activate it for subsequent production steps. With argon plasma alone or in combination with other gases, even silicones and fibers can be removed from surfaces.
With a Thierry plasma cleaner there are virtually no limitations for materials that can be treated. Polymers (solid or fibers), metals, rubbers, ceramics and glass are equally suitable for plasma cleaning.
Plasma cleaning in a Thierry system is safer, environmentally friendlier, and more effective than traditional wet chemical procedures. No chemical baths equals no hazards, no cross contamination, nothing to dispose of, and last but not least, saves space.
Plasma Cleaning - Users and Uses
Thierry plasma systems are already being used with:
- Medical technology: Cleaning and sterilizing of implants and stents with plasma
- Rubber processors: Removal of lubricants prior to gluing or bonding
- Electronics industry and semiconductor manufacturers: Plasma cleaning is employed to clean and degrease metal surfaces prior to soldering, circuit printing, or coating
- Automotive technology: Plasma cleaning is applied in numerous steps along the production line, enabling the use of sophisticated material combinations which can only be joined with the aid of plasma procedures.