Influence of atmospheric plasma activation on sheet-fed offset print quality

Maiju Pykönen, Henna Sundqvist, Mikko Tuominen, Johanna Lahti, Janet Preston, Pedro Fardim, Martti Toivakka

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    The objective of this paper was to understand the effects of plasma activation, and thus influence of the surface energy and chemistry changes on offset print quality. Pigment coated and surface sized papers were treated with corona and atmospheric plasma in pilot and laboratory scales. The surface energy and surface chemistry changes were evaluated by contact angle and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Offset printing was performed in laboratory scale with an IGT unit with predampening and in a pilot scale sheet-fed offset printing press. In addition, the ink setting rate was measured using an ink on paper tack tester. Plasma activation increased the surface energy of the papers. Furthermore, the polarity of the paper surface increased due to formed polar oxygen containing molecular groups. Due to differences in treatment times laboratory scale plasma treatment formed mainly carboxyl and ester groups, whereas pilot scale treatment induced mainly alcohol, ethers, aldehydes and/or ketones on paper surfaces. Printing evaluation showed that plasma activation influences both ink and water absorption properties. According to print tack results plasma activation led to faster ink-setting. With hydrophobic surface-sized paper plasma activation influenced the ink transfer, print gloss and density by changing dampening water absorption properties. The difference in surface chemistry with laboratory scale plasma treated samples was also reflected in the print quality properties. SEM imaging showed that too intense plasma activation can cause topography changes in addition to of the surface chemistry changes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)181-188
    Number of pages8
    JournalNordic Pulp and Paper Research Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Ink-paper interactions
    • Plasma activation
    • Sheet-fed offset printing
    • Surface chemistry
    • Surface energy


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