Determination of Polymer Film Development through Surface Characterization Studies

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Fike, Gregory Michael
Banerjee, Sujit
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Unexpectedly, it was found that when a waterborne polyacrylate adhesive was placed on carbon steel it was not tacky; this was not the case for the same adhesive placed on stainless steel. It was determined that the surface energy, as measured with liquid contact angles, of the adhesive films is significantly different between the two films, with the non-tacky film having a higher surface energy. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) showed that the non-tacky surface has a higher roughness which minimizes the contacting area between the film and a contacting surface. Analysis of the heating of the carbon steel coupon with infrared thermography shows a non-uniform temperature profile at the surface. This experimental data is corroborated using a 2-D heat transfer model that incorporates the heat transfer characteristics of the various components of carbon steel. Surface driven flow, or Marangoni convection, can develop from temperature gradients and are known to cause increased roughness in polymer films. IR thermography measurements of the adhesive film during drying shows larger temperature differences for the films on carbon steel than on stainless steel. These larger temperature differences induce greater Marangoni convection, which result in the rougher surfaces on carbon steel that were measured with AFM. The effect of lowering the tack of a polyacrylate film has significant impact in the dryer section of a paper machine. This effect was quantified using the Web Adhesion Drying Simulator, which is a laboratory-scale apparatus that measures the energy required to pull the sheet from a metal surface. By substituting the adhesive-on-stainless steel with the less-sticky adhesive-on-carbon steel surface, the energy required to pull the sheet from the metal surface was reduced significantly and the picking associated with the test was nearly eliminated.
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