Conductive layer separation of biodegradable substrates

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Hajdu István
Department of Electronics Technology

Nowadays, the environmental impact of an industrial product is an increasingly important aspect during design and production. In order to protect our environment, we have to design our consumer’s goods to be more efficient, smaller, less toxic and cheap. It is usually a difficult task to combine these aspects and it involves a lot of compromise.

Consumers of this century are going to own various kinds of electrical equipments: computers, telephones, televisions, household appliances etc. The lifecycle of these products is usually not more then 5-8 years. It results in a huge amount of electrical waste, which is very toxic, hard to recycle and essentially non-biodegradable. Printed Circuit Boards (PCB) are among the most toxic parts of this waste and are hardly recyclable. Therefore the demand to find biodegradable materials for PCB-s is increasing. Nonetheless limited information is available about the applicability of these biodegradable materials in this field.

The aim of our work was to examine the aptness of various conductor coating processes on polylactide and cellulose-acetate based biodegradable materials. I have tested three coating processes:

copper foil lamination

electrochemical copper addition

thick layer conductor addition

I have tested the peel strength of the created conductors under the guidance of IPC-TM-650 standard. I have tested some PCB manufacturing methods on the materials, and I have made soldering tests to investigate the industrial applicability of the materials. I have also performed microscopic studies about the layers and the bore metallization.

In summary, our results are promising in point of usability of the investigated materials for simple circuits and short lifetime circuits, but further experiments and investigations are required to obtain more data.


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