Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Physical characterization of plastic surfaces in wearing and cleanability research

Risto Kuisma

Doctoral dissertation, June 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Agrotechnology.

Plastic surfaces are a group of materials used for many purposes. The present study was focused on methods for investigation of surface topography, wearing and cleanability of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) model surfaces and industrial plastic surfaces.

Contact profilometry, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and atomic force microscopy (AFM) are powerful methods for studying the topography of plastic surfaces. Although they have their own limitations, they are together an effective tool providing useful information on surface topography, especially when studying laboratory-made PVC model surfaces with known chemical compositions and structures. All examined laboratory-made PVC plastic surfaces examined in this work could be considered as smooth according to both AFM and profilometer measurements because height differences are in the nanoscale on every surface. Industrial plastic surfaces are a complex group of materials because of their chemical and topographical heterogeneity, but they are nevertheless important reference materials when developing cleaning and wearing methods.

According to the results of this study the Soiling and Wearing Drum and the Frick-Taber methods are very useful when simulating three-body wearing of plastic surfaces. Both the investigated wearing methods can be used to compare the wearing of different plastic materials using appropriate evaluation methods of wearing and industrial use.

In this study, physical methods were developed and adapted from other fields of material research to cleanability studies. The thesis focuses on the methodology for investigating the cleanability of plastic surfaces under realistic conditions, where surface topography and the effect of wear cleanability were among the major topics. A colorimetric method proved to be suitable for examining the cleanability of the industrial plastic surfaces. The results were utilized to evaluate the relationship between cleanability and the surface properties of plastic surfaces. The devices and methods used in the work can be utilized both in material research and product development.

The title page of the publication

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Last updated 29.05.2006

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