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Tailoring the properties of deposited thin coating and print features in flexography by application of UV-ozone treatment
Journal of Coatings Technology and Research, Volume: 13, Issue: 5, Pages: 815 - 828
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Printed functional materials are a rapidly growing area of interest for low-cost high-speed device manufacture with flexographic printing seen as a route to achieving this. The relationship between surface tension of the ink and surface free energy (SFE) of the photopolymer plate is a key for optimu...
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Printed functional materials are a rapidly growing area of interest for low-cost high-speed device manufacture with flexographic printing seen as a route to achieving this. The relationship between surface tension of the ink and surface free energy (SFE) of the photopolymer plate is a key for optimum performance. However, traditional methods of surface tension modification of the ink/coating often cannot be employed for functional inks. In this research, rapid, permanent modification of flexographic printing plate’s SFE is achieved through controlled UV-ozone treatment, and the effects of the treatment on the polar and dispersive component of SFE are analyzed by Fourier transform infrared attenuated total reflectance spectroscopy, swelling experiments, and roughness measurements. Printing trials using the modified printing plates reveal improved print uniformity and control of deposited ink layer thickness, as well as improved print features—particularly track and pad junctions which can be problematic for printed electronic applications. The ability to rapidly tailor printing plate SFE is of benefit to all volume printing applications. Furthermore, it is of critical importance for functional printing and printed electronics where surface tension of the ink is determined by the functional material and chemical modification is not possible or desirable.
College of Engineering