Color Research and Application, Vol.46, No.2, 489-499, 2021
Surface analysis of polymer films for wettability and ink adhesion
The interaction between inks and substrates is critical during printing. Adhesion of the ink film is determined by the reciprocal interactions of polar and nonpolar (dispersive) components between polymer films and inks. The greater the similarity between the polar and dispersive components of inks, coating and substrates, the better the wetting and adhesion on the surface of printing substrate. Various liquid materials in printing such as inks, varnishes, lacquers, and adhesives contain high ratios of water. The highly polar nature of water makes the interaction of these materials unsuitable with predominantly disperse polymer surfaces. Some films with polyolefin structure, especially polypropylene, and polyethylene, are nonpolar and cannot form strong bonds with ink, varnish, or lacquer coatings due to their chemical structure. Increasing surface energy components overcomes the poor wetting and adhesion on polymer surfaces. In this review, the topics of water contact angle measurement and determination of surface energy, surface tension, and using sessile drop method for the wettability and ink adhesion of polymer films are surveyed. Information on structural and chemical processes was given that assists in obtaining wettable film surfaces. Recommendations were made for good adhesion and printability based on surface treatment methods and ink modification.