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Radio-frequency Ar plasma treatment on muga silk fiber: correlation between physicochemical and surface morphology



AbstractRadio-frequency (RF) Ar plasma treatment is carried out on natural muga silk fibers in a capacitively coupled plasma reactor. The physical and thermal properties of the muga fibers are investigated at an RF power of 20 W and in the treatment time range of 5 to 20 min. The virgin and plasma-treated muga fibers are characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The effect of Ar plasma treatment can be observed only on the outermost layer of the muga fibers without any significant variation in their bulk and thermal properties, as supported by differential scanning calorimetry and thermogravimetric analysis. Improvement in tensile strength and hydrophobicity of the plasma-treated muga fibers is observed at lower treatment time and RF power. Attempts are made to correlate the properties of the plasma-treated muga fibers with their surface chemistry and surface morphologies.