Tensile strength of radio frequency cold plasma treated PET fibers - Part 1: Influence of environment and treatment time
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This article reports on a series of experiments with polyethylene terepthalate (PET) treated in a radio frequency plasma reactor using argon and oxygen as a gas fuel, for treatment times equal to 5 s, 20 s, 30 s, and 100 s. The mechanical strength modification of PET fibers, evaluated by tensile tests on monofilaments, showed that oxygen and argon plasma treatment resulted in a decrease in the average tensile strength compared with the untreated fibers. This reduction in tensile strength is more significant for argon plasma and is very sensitive to the treatment time for oxygen plasma. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) used to analyze the effects of cold plasma treatment on fiber surfaces indicates differences in roughness profiles depending on the type of treatments, which were associated with variations in mechanical strength. Differences in the roughness profile, surveyed through an image analysis method, provided the distance of roughness interval, D-ri. This parameter represents the number of peaks contained in a unit length and was introduced to correlate fiber surface condition, before and after cold plasma treatments, and average tensile strength. Statistical analysis of experimental data, using Weibull cumulative distribution and linear representation, was performed to explain influences of treatment time and environmental effects on mechanical properties. The shape parameter, alpha, and density parameter, beta, from the Weibull distribution function were used to indicate the experimental data range and to confirm the mechanical performance obtained experimentally.