Tracking the hydrophobicity recovery of PDMS compounds using the adhesive force determined by AFM force distance measurements
Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) materials show the unique phenomenon that when exposed to electrical discharge, such as corona discharge, their hydrophobic surface becomes hydrophilic. However, after a certain relaxation time they gradually regain their hydrophobicity. In this study the adhesive force obtained by AFM force distance measurements using a hydrophilic Si3N 4 probe is used to track the recovery of the hydrophobicity. The time constant of the recovery can be determined by measuring the adhesive force as a function of the recovery time after corona exposure. It is shown how these time constants can be used to monitor the recovery rate as a function of corona treatment time for both filled and unfilled PDMS compounds. © 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.