Improved Bond Strength of Cyanoacrylate Adhesives Through Nanostructured Chromium Adhesion Layers

The performance of many consumer products suffers due to weak and inconsistent bonds formed to low surface energy polymer materials, such as polyolefin-based high-density polyethylene (HDPE), with adhesives, such as cyanoacrylate. In this letter, we present an industrially relevant means of increasing bond shear strength and consistency through vacuum metallization of chromium thin films and nanorods, using HDPE as a prototype material and cyanoacrylate as a prototype adhesive.

For the as received HDPE surfaces, unmodified bond shear strength is shown to be only 0.20 MPa with a standard deviation of 14 %. When Cr metallization layers are added onto the HDPE at thicknesses of 50 nm or less, nanorod-structured coatings outperform continuous films and have a maximum bond shear strength of 0.96 MPa with a standard deviation of 7 %.

When the metallization layer is greater than 50 nm thick, continuous films demonstrate greater performance than nanorod coatings and have a maximum shear strength of 1.03 MPa with a standard deviation of 6 %. Further, when the combination of surface roughening with P400 grit sandpaper and metallization is used, 100-nm-thick nanorod coatings show a tenfold increase in shear strength over the baseline, reaching a maximum of 2.03 MPa with a standard deviation of only 3 %.

The substantial increase in shear strength through metallization, and the combination of roughening with metallization, may have wide-reaching implications in consumer products which utilize low surface energy plastics.

Published on: 2017-03-29

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