Researchers are using wood-derived cellulose material to replace the plastics and polymeric materials currently used in electronics.
An international team of researchers is developing an eco-friendly, 3-D printable solution for producing wireless Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensors that can be used and disposed of without contaminating the environment.
The project is being undertaken by the researchers from Simon Fraser University and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science.
The team led by SFU professor Woo Soo Kim uses wood-derived cellulose material to replace the plastics and polymeric materials currently used in electronics.
Additionally, 3-D printing can give flexibility to add or embed functions onto 3-D shapes or textiles, creating greater functionality.
Kim claimed that these eco-friendly 3-D printed cellulose sensors can wirelessly transmit data and can be disposed without concern of environmental contamination.
The research is being carried out at PowerTech Labs in Surrey, which houses several state-of-the-art 3-D printers used by researchers.
Promoting green electronics
Kim said this development will help to advance green electronics. “For example, the waste from printed circuit boards is a hazardous source of contamination to the environment. If we are able to change the plastics in PCB to cellulose composite materials, recycling of metal components on the board could be collected in a much easier way,” he added.
He is also collaborating with a team of South Korean researchers from the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology’s (DGIST)’s department of Robotics Engineering, and PROTEM Co Inc, a technology-based company, for development of printable conductive ink materials.
In this second project, researchers have developed a new breakthrough in the embossing process technology, one that can freely imprint fine circuit patterns on flexible polymer substrate, a necessary component of electronic products.