This article presents a selective metallization method for the newly developed 3D printable thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers (TPU): FilaFlex®, SemiFlex™, PolyFlex™ and NinjaFlex®. Silver nanoparticles were fabricated in-situ by photo-reduction on the surface of TPUs and acted as catalysts for copper ion adsorption. This method demonstrates the successful fabrication of copper patterns on flexible TPU filaments. Furthermore, Polyflex™ and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) filaments printed in the same part have been used to enable selective electroless plating directly on Polyflex™ material. Electroless copper deposited onto Polyflex™ has a sheet resistance of (139.4 ± 7.2) mΩ/☐ and a copper conductivity of (1.1 ± 0.1) × 107 S/m that is comparable to bulk copper. Copper-plated Polyflex™ interconnects were fabricated as a proof of concept demonstrators.
- Thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers (TPU)
- fused filament fabrication (FFF)
- 3D printing
- additive manufacturing (AM)
- silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs)
- electroless copper plating
Ryspayeva, A., Jones, T. D. A., Khan, S. R., Nekouie Esfahani, M., Shuttleworth, M. P., Harris, R. A., Kay, R. W., Desmulliez, M. P. Y., & Marques-Hueso, J. (2019). Selective Metallization of 3D Printable Thermoplastic Polyurethanes. IEEE Access, 7(2019). https://doi.org/10.1109/access.2019.2931594