Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of California, Berkeley (UC Berkeley) have created a recyclable and biodegradable three-dimensionally printed circuit.
The researchers developed a printable "conductive ink" from biodegradable polyester binders, conductive fillers like silver flakes or carbon black, and off-the-shelf enzyme cocktails.
The team furnished a three-dimensional printer with the ink to print circuit patterns onto surfaces including hard and flexible biodegradable plastic, and cloth.
When immersed in warm water, the circuit's polymers degraded into reusable monomers, and the researchers estimated that roughly 94% of the silver particles can be recycled and reused with similar device performance.
UC Berkeley's Junpyo Kwon said the circuit shows potential as a sustainable alternative to single-use plastics employed in transient electronics.
From Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
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