One-step electrodeposition of copper on conductive 3D printed objects


Journal Article

© 2019 3D printing with electrically conductive filaments enables rapid prototyping and fabrication of electronics, but the performance of such devices can be limited by the fact that the most conductive thermoplastic-based filaments for 3D printing are 3750 times less conductive than copper. This study explores the use of one-step electrodeposition of copper onto electrically conductive 3D printed objects as a way to improve their conductivity and performance. Comparison of three different commercially-available conductive filaments demonstrates that only the most conductive commercially available filament could enable one-step electrodeposition of uniform copper films. Electrodeposition improved the electrical conductivity and the ampacity of 3D printed traces by 94 and 17 times respectively, compared to the as-printed object. The areal surface roughness of the objects was reduced from 9.3 to 6.9 μm after electrodeposition, and a further reduction in surface roughness to 3.9 μm could be achieved through the addition of organic additives to the electrodeposition bath. Copper electrodeposition improved the quality factor of a 3D printed inductor by 1740 times and the gain of a 3D printed horn antenna by 1 dB. One-step electrodeposition is a fast and simple way to improve the conductivity and performance of 3D printed electronic components.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Kim, MJ; Cruz, MA; Ye, S; Gray, AL; Smith, GL; Lazarus, N; Walker, CJ; Sigmarsson, HH; Wiley, BJ

Published Date

  • May 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 27 /

Start / End Page

  • 318 - 326

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2214-8604

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.addma.2019.03.016

Citation Source

  • Scopus