Ultraviolet/ozone (UV/O3) treatment has been reported to be an effective method to modify properties such as wettability, adhesion or adsorption of plastic surfaces. The change in the surface is measured by contact angle analysis, which employs liquids and their surface tensions (ST) to estimate the surface energy (SE). We found two different practices in the scientific community: (1) the majority of researchers adopted the ST value of liquids from the literature, while (2) other researchers conducted real-time measurements in the lab under ambient conditions prior to SE estimation. To the best of our knowledge, there is no study that compares the difference between the two practices. One study was found to show different SE methods generating unequal SE values for the same substrate. However, there was no definitive conclusion backed by general thermodynamics rules. In this study, we presented (1) a statistical significance test that showed the literature and experimental ST values are significantly different, and studied (2) the effect of different liquid pairs on the SE estimation for UV/O3 treated poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) substrate. Modification techniques such as atmospheric pressure plasma or chemical modification were studied previously to examine PET’s wettability and the SE. The UV/O3 treatment was studied to improve adhesion and to modify its chemical properties for adsorption. In contrast, we studied (3) the effect of UV/O3 on wettability at different timeframes and addressed (4) how to control unequal SE based on a method that was refined on a rigorous thermodynamic three-phase system. It must be noted that this method can be generalized to other types of solid surfaces to estimate thermodynamically self-consistent SE values. This work also provides (5) a web-based calculator that complements computational findings available to the readership in the data availability section.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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School of Media Sciences (CET)


RIT – Main Campus