Supercritical fluid-assisted electroless metal plating onto aramid films: The influence of thermal treatment



Although the production of electro-conductive aramid fibers is efficient, the method needs to be modified before it can be applied to aramid films. Whereas impregnation of an aramid film with a metal complex using supercritical CO2 is achievable, the relatively low adhesion strength of the metal layer applied using electroless copper plating is problematic. To solve this problem, thermal treatment was conducted before, after, or both before and after electroless plating. The rationale for using thermal treatment to improve the adhesiveness of the plated layer was based on the findings that (1) an aramid film contains a significant amount of water (about 3.5 % w.o.f.), which might have a negative impact on adhesion; and (2) because an impregnated metal complex liberates metal catalyst by thermal decomposition during impregnation, a supplementary thermal action might liberate more catalyst and thereby improve adhesion. We found that thermal treatment improved adhesion of the metal layer to the aramid film. Moreover, we discovered that with respect to electroless copper plating, a short time-lag was crucial to obtaining a thin and homogeneous metal layer with strong adhesion. In addition, we demonstrate the affinity of an aramid film for Pd(acac)2. © 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2011