The surface chemical and surface energetic nature of materials used in the formulation of commercial products or used in the manufacture of these products is often important to the final quality of the product. Despite the importance of surface chemistry to the ultimate performance of the product, not as much recognition as is deserved has been given to the characterization of surface chemistry and the effects of its variation on product performance. Difficulties with both theoretical descriptions of interfaces and the measurement of surface chemical characteristics make the incorporation of material surface chemical specifications for the manufacture of many products challenging. Both theoretical developments related to surface characterization and experimental methods used to characterize materials are discussed in this paper.
Surface chemistry is important to processes involving spreading, wetting, liquid penetration and adhesion. Such processes might include, printing, drug formulation, painting, and gluing. The formulation of composite materials used for construction materials, tires, gaskets and pharmaceutical capsules also rely on the surface chemical nature of component materials. The relation of processes such as spreading, wetting, liquid penetration and adhesion to surface chemical properties is also discussed.