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Studies of Polymeric Bond Failure on Aluminum Surfaces by X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (ESCA)

Volume 28, Number 5 (Oct. 1974) Page 439-445

Wyatt, David M.; Gray, Robert C.; Carver, James C.; Hercules, David M.; Masters, Larry W.


X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (ESCA) has been used to identify very thin layers of polymeric species remaining on aluminum plates after the polymer was cured and stripped from the aluminum. Two polymers were studied. In one, the residual polymeric carbon was used as the tracing signal; in the other, the polymeric silicon was used. In both cases, the polymeric species was partially sputtered from the aluminum surface by an argon ion gun. A reduction in the polymeric signal relative to a standard signal was noted. The results of this study show that, when the polymers studied were mechanically pulled from the aluminum substrate, the failure was a cohesive separation within the polymer, rather than failure at the polymer-aluminum interface. Scanning electron microscopy was used to show that the residual polymer does not remain on the surface as "clumps" or "islands," but rather as a smooth surface a few atomic layers thick.