CAREER: Plasma Colloids

Project: Research project

Project Details


ABSTRACT CTS-9702653 Themis Matsoukas Penn State The goal of the proposed research is to develop a radio-frequency low-pressure plasma process for the deposition of thin polymer films onto the surface of powders suspended in the plasma. Hydrocarbon and fluorocarbon-based coatings with controlled porosity, cross-linking and permeability would have a significant impact on a broad range of technologies based on particle processing as in powder metallurgy and ceramic processing. With the development of proper coatings, it may be possible to improve the flow-characteristics of powders, prevent the irreversible agglomeration between particles, provide protection against harsh environments and facilitate sintering by reducing the need for binding agents. The advantages of plasma-deposited polymeric films have been long recognized and have lead to the development deposition processes on flat substrates. However, film deposition onto powders has not been attempted, largely due to the difficulty in exposing powders uniformly to a low-pressure plasma over the time necessary for deposition. Recently, it has been demonstrated that particles in plasmas may become electrostatically trapped and remain suspended over extended periods of time. It is then possible to sustain a fluidized cloud of fine (micron and submicron) particles in a low-pressure environment and expose their surface to the reactive environment for any desired length of the time. In parallel with the experimental part, theoretical and numerical studies of the fundamental processes in low-pressure plasmas containing particles will be conducted. The educational plan is focused on the undergraduate program and aims at maximizing the educational benefits of students in one of the largest chemical engineering programs in the country. Its goals span three specific levels- bridging the gap between engineering education and industrial practice; searching for new paradigms in teaching beyond the conventional models; and developing speci alty courses from the research experience and interests of the PI.

Effective start/end date5/1/973/31/03


  • National Science Foundation: $310,000.00


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