Influence of substrate morphology on the cohesion and adhesion of thin PECVD oxide films on semi-crystalline polymers
The influence of the surface morphology of semi-crystalline poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) and polyamide 12 (PA12) films on the adhesion and cohesion of thin oxide coatings is analysed, with attention paid to the role of spherulites and processing additives. The failure mechanisms of the coating are determined by means of fragmentation tests and the results are modelled using a constant interfacial strength approach with a Weibull-type probability of fracture. Coating failure is shown to be initiated at defect sites such as pinholes and, in the case of PET, the presence of additives in the superficial layers of the polymer leads to a decrease of the crack onset strain by a factor of 20%. Large spherulitic structures found at the surface of PA12 films are shown to lead to preferential delamination at spherulites boundaries. For the two types of semi-crystalline polymers, the interfacial shear strength is found to be comparable to the bulk shear strength of the polymer.