Oxidative damage and recovery of silicone rubber surfaces. I. X‐ray photoelectron spectroscopic study

András Tóth, Imre Bertóti, Marianne Blazsó, György Bánhegyi, Alajos Bognar, Pál Szaplonczay

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The oxidative degradation of silicone rubber surfaces in air plasmas obtained by RF or corona discharges and the subsequent recovery process were studied by X‐ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS or ESCA). Using relatively short treatment times (5 min), the surface oxygen content was found to increase and that of carbon to decrease. Within 1 day some recovery toward the original composition was observed, but it was far from being complete. Angle‐dependent measurements have shown an almost total recovery in the topmost layer. The degree of surface degradation of a solvent‐extracted sample was much higher while its recovery was much smaller than the corresponding features of the nonextracted sample. According to GC and GC–MS analyses the extract contained a mixture of cyclic, and, in a minor quantity, linear dimethylsiloxane oligomers. Based on the above results the following steps were proposed for the oxidative damage and the subsequent recovery processes on silicone rubber surfaces: first the majority of surface methyl groups is removed and an oxidized layer containing Si atoms bound to 3 or 4 oxygens appears. The surface is later covered by a very thin (2–3 nm thick) “silicone oil” layer due to migration of low‐molecular‐weight components from the bulk. This diffusion‐controlled migration step plays a more important role in the recovery process than the eventual reorientation of the newly formed polar groups from the surface toward the bulk. The proposed model is discussed in the light of published data. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1293-1307
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Applied Polymer Science
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - May 31 1994


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

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