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Nucleation and growth of gas barrier aluminium oxide on surfaces of poly(ethylene terephthalate) and polypropylene: Effects of the polymer surface properties

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


  • C. S. Deng
  • H. E. Assender
  • F. Dinelli
  • Oleg Kolosov
  • G. Andrew D. Briggs
  • T. Miyamoto
  • Y. Tsukahara
Journal publication date1/12/2000
JournalJournal of Polymer Science Part B: Polymer Physics
Number of pages12
Original languageEnglish


The nucleation and initial stages of growth of aluminium oxide deposited on two different polymer surfaces [poly(ethylene terephthalate), (PET) and amorphous polypropylene, (PP)] have been studied by atomic force microscopy (AFM). The permeation of water vapor and oxygen through the films has been measured. The initial stages of the growth of the oxide consisted of separated islands on the polymer surface. Further growth of oxide depends strongly on the surface morphology and chemical nature of the polymer surface. Growth on PET follows a layer-by-layer mechanism that maintains the native surface roughness of the polymer substrate. Growth on PP, however, follows an island mode, which leads to an increase in surface roughness. This may be due to a lack of chemical bonding between the polymer and the arriving metal-oxygen particles. The oxide layer on PET grows more densely than on PP, providing superior barrier to gas permeation. (C) 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.