Plasma Surface Engineering of Natural and Sustainable Polymeric Derivatives and Their Potential Applications
Recently, natural as well as synthetic polymers have been receiving significant attention as candidates to replace non-renewable materials. With the exponential developments in the world each day, the collateral damage to the environment is incessant. Increased demands for reducing pollution and energy consumption are the driving force behind the research related to surface-modified natural fibers (NFs), polymers, and various derivatives of them such as natural-fiber-reinforced polymer composites. Natural fibers have received special attention for industrial applications due to their favorable characteristics, such as low cost, abundance, light weight, and biodegradable nature. Even though NFs offer many potential applications, they still face some challenges in terms of durability, strength, and processing. Many of these have been addressed by various surface modification methodologies and compositing with polymers. Among different surface treatment strategies, low-temperature plasma (LTP) surface treatment has recently received special attention for tailoring surface properties of different materials, including NFs and synthetic polymers, without affecting any of the bulk properties of these materials. Hence, it is very important to get an overview of the latest developments in this field. The present article attempts to give an overview of different materials such as NFs, synthetic polymers, and composites. Special attention was placed on the low-temperature plasma-based surface engineering of these materials for diverse applications, which include but are not limited to environmental remediation, packaging, biomedical devices, and sensor development.