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Applications of lasers in metallization of thermoplastic and thermosetting polymers

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Purpose: This work focuses on the studies of chemical and physical changes induced by ArF-laser irradiation leading to formation of surfaces catalytically highly active and fully prepared for the direct electroless metallization for the case of thermoplastic and thermosetting polymer composites. The only pretreatment method for surface to be activated was laser irradiation. There are compared two polymer composites: thermoplastic and thermosetting with the same qualitative and quantitative contents of the selected copper compounds. Additionally, there is presented wide context of laser applications in electroless metallization of polymeric materials. Design/methodology/approach: The composites contained the same amount of copper(II) oxide (CuO) and copper(II) acetoacetate Cu(acac)2, while varied with the type of polymer matrix. There were chosen polyamide 6 as thermoplastic and polyurethane resin as thermosetting polymer matrixes. The composites were irradiated with various numbers of ArF excimer laser pulses (λ = 193 nm) at constant fluence of 100 mJ/cm2. The metallization procedure of the laser-irradiated samples was performed by use of a commercial metallization bath and formaldehyde as a reducing agent. The samples were examined using FTIR, contact angle measurement and SEM techniques. Findings: It was found that laser irradiation induce catalytic properties in the studied composites. However, better catalytic properties were achieved for the thermoplastic than thermosetting polymer composites. Research limitations/implications: In order to better understand the differences in laser interactions between thermoplastic and thermosetting composites more examples of various polymer matrixes should be investigated. Practical implications: Suitable condition for laser irradiation of the composites associated with the best catalytic properties were proposes. Better catalytic properties were achieved for thermoplastic than thermosetting composite. Originality/value: Comparison of new thermoplastic and thermosetting polymer composites intended for laser direct electroless metallization is firstly reported in this article.
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Bibliogr. 26 poz., rys., tab.
  • Institute for Engineering of Polymer Materials and Dyes, ul. M. Skłodowskiej-Curie 55, 87-100 Toruń, Poland,
  • Department of Materials Engineering, Kazimierz Wielki University, ul. Chodkiewicza 30, 85-064 Bydgoszcz, Poland
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