Pyrene time-resolved fluorescence has been applied to correlate the surface tension levels obtained for polyethylene and polypropylene films after exposure to corona-discharge treatment. The surface tension level of the films was validated with surface tension test fluids according to the ASTM D2578 standard test method. Although in direct contact with air, pyrene showed an extremely long lifetime upon deposition on the polymer films, which approached the lifetime of pyrene in freeze/pump/thaw deoxygenated hexane. The I/III ratio of pyrene fluorescence at 373 and 384 nm, designated as bands I and III, was determined at 150-ns delay relative to the time at laser maximum. Prolonged time delay was imposed before fluorescence measurement in order to minimize the background interferences from the blank films. Measurements of the time-resolved pyrene fluorescence I/III ratio from pyrene/ethanol depositions showed averages of 0.63, 0.56, and 0.49 for 42, 35, and 30 dyne/cm treated films. The uncertainty of the measurements was estimated to be 1-2 dyne/cm. Application of the pyrene I/III ratio can be used easily to monitor incorrectly and nonuniformly treated polymer film surfaces.
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