Polystyrene (PS) and polyethylene (PE) samples were treated with argon and oxygen plasmas. Microwave electron cyclotron resonance (ECR) was used to generate the argon and oxygen plasmas and these plasmas were used to modify the surface of the polymers. The samples were processed at different microwave powers and treatment time and the surface modification of the polymer was evaluated by measuring the water contact angle of the samples before and after the modification. Decrease in the contact angle was observed with the increase in the microwave power for both polystyrene and polyethylene. Plasma parameters were assessed using Langmuir probe measurements. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy showed the evidence for the induction of oxygen-based functional groups in both polyethylene and polystyrene when treated with the oxygen plasma. Argon treatment of the polymers showed improvement in the wettability which is attributed to the process called as CASING, on the other hand the oxygen plasma treatment of the polymers showed surface functionalization. Correlation between the plasma parameters and the surface modification of the polymer is also discussed. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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