Selective Metallization of 3D Printable Thermoplastic Polyurethanes

Assel Ryspayeva, Thomas D. A. Jones, Sadeque Reza Khan, Mohammadreza Nekouie Esfahani, Matthew P. Shuttleworth, Russell A. Harris, Robert W. Kay, Marc Phillipe Yves Desmulliez, Jose Marques-Hueso

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    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.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages9
    JournalIEEE Access
    Issue number2019
    Early online date29 Jul 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Aug 2019


    • Thermoplastic polyurethane elastomers (TPU)
    • fused filament fabrication (FFF)
    • 3D printing
    • additive manufacturing (AM)
    • hybrid-AM
    • silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs)
    • electroless copper plating
    • FilaFlex®
    • SemiFlex™
    • PolyFlex™
    • NinjaFlex®

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    Cite this

    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).