Generation, diagnostics, and application of triboplasma

This project focuses on the generation and diagnosis of triboplasmas as well as on the understanding of triboplasma induced surface modification affecting the adhesive properties of the exposed surfaces.

A triboplasma, or tribo-electric discharge, is a gas discharge generated by tribological activation. Examples include lightning, sparks from flint striking steel, frictional van der Graaff generators, and the ignition of an explosion in an unloaded petroleum tanker during cleaning of the hold with a high pressure water spray. The study of triboplasmas is of significant interest for

  • Understanding tribological phenomena in terms of electrical charging, and chemical reactions at the sliding contacts,
  • Monitoring tribological phenomena,
  • Surface modification of materials, and
  • Understanding discharges in daily life.

Since the study of triboplasmas was initiated by tribological research and applications, the related literature has mostly been devoted to understanding and monitoring tribological phenomena. On the other hand, application of triboplasma for surface modification is not extensively studied. However, a triboplasma might, like other discharge plasmas, improve the adhesive properties of certain surfaces. The method would be attractive, since the generation of a triboplasma is simple, its treatment effect is expected to be similar to that of normal process plasmas, and simultaneous mechanical rubbing can synergetically enhance the treatment effect. A triboplasma can be generated without severe abrasion at the sliding surfaces, and so the resultant surface modification can be distinctively different from that resulting from the conventional mechanical roughening. It is noted that improving adhesion is of considerable industrial importance in assembly of mechanical structures and composite materials.

This project focuses on the generation and diagnosis of triboplasmas as well as on the understanding of triboplasma induced surface modification affecting the adhesive properties of the exposed surfaces.

FTP funded project (project nr. 274-06-0530)


Aims of the project
The aims of the project are to: 

  • Design and construct apparatus for generation of triboplasmas and detection of tribo-emissions.
  • Study triboplasma chemistry,
  • Study chemical and micro-structural surface modification of the materials at the contact by the triboplasma, and
  • Evaluate the feasibility of a triboplasma surface treatment for improvement of the adhesion of polymeric and ceramic materials with epoxy and vinylester resin

The results were presented in:

1. The poster Generation and application of triboplasma (abstract), at Danish Physical Society annual meeting 2007, Nyborg, Denmark, 18-20 June 2007
2. he poster Adhesive improvement of carbon fibres (CF) and glass fibre reinforced polyester (GFRP) by atmospheric pressure plasma, at the Energy Conference at Risø, Roskilde, Denmark, 9 October 2007
3. The invited talk Triboplasma – its generation and application for surface modification (proceedings) at the 4th Mikkeli International Industrial Coating Seminar, Mikkeli, Finland, 27-29 March 2008<>
4. The poster Generation of a Triboplasma by Tribo-Electrification and its application for Surface Modification at the International Symposium on Friction, Wear and Wear Protection, Aachen, Germany, 9-11 April 2008
5. The poster Microplasma generated by electrification for modification of surfaces at the Summer School "Modern Concepts for Creating and Analyzing Surfaces and Nano-scale Materials", Girona, Spain, 12 - 16 May 2008
6. The poster Triboplasma induced by tribo-electrification for polymer surface modification at the JUNIOR EUROMAT 2008 Lausanne, Switzerland, 14 - 18 July 2008
7. The talk Generation of a plasma by triboelectrification at the 35th Leeds-Lyon Symposium on tribology, Leeds, UK, 9 - 12 September 2008
8. The poster Atmospheric pressure plasma surface modification for functionalization, at Nanotech Northern Europe 2008, Copenhagen, Denmark, 25 September 2008
9. The invited talk Surface modification of polymeric materials by atmospheric pressure plasmas at the seminar, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark, 1 October 2008
10. The poster Adhesion improvement by atmospheric pressure plasma for construction of lightweight composites, at Energy DTU Internal Conference 2008, Technical University of Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark, 11 December 2008.

Get more information:

Shailendra Vikram Singh
Plasma Physics and Technology Programme (PLF)
Tel.+45 46774532

Yukihiro Kusano 
Senior Scientist
Plasma Physics and Technology Programme (PLF)