Applied Surface Science, Vol.214, No.1-4, 232-242, 2003
Improving the wettability of 2024 aluminium alloy by means of cold plasma treatment
Aluminium alloys are heavily used to manufacture structural parts in, the aeronautic industry because of its lightness and its corrosion resistance. These alloys. are successfully used in other industrial fields too, such as railway, automotive and naval industries. The need to contrast the severe use conditions and the heavy stresses developing in aeronautic field implies to protect the surfaces of the structures in aluminium alloy by any deterioration. To preserve by deterioration, it is necessary to make aluminium more suitable to be coated by protective paint. In the aeronautic industry, a complex and critical process is used in order to enhance both wettability and adhesive properties of aluminium alloy surfaces. Cold plasma treatment represents an efficient, clean and economic alternative to activate aluminium surfaces. The present work deals with air cold plasma treatment of 2024 aluminium alloy surfaces. The influence of dc electrical discharge cold plasma parameters on wettability of 2024 aluminium alloy surfaces has been studied. A set of process variables (voltage, time and air flow rate) has been identified and used to conduct some experimental tests on the basis of design of experiment (DOE) techniques. The experimental results show that the proposed plasma process may considerably increase aluminium alloy wettability. These results represent the first step in trying to optimise the aluminium adhesion by means of this non-conventional manufacturing process. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.