ARPLAE – Advanced rheology for printing large-area electronics

The ARPLAE project addressed fundamental rheological challenges to achieving high-resolution features in the production of functional inks in high-yield contact printing processes. Typically, the ink systems used in these processes display complex rheology (deformation and flow properties) which can complicate the characterisation of the materials and hinder attempts to predict process performance. Improved understanding of the rheological aspects of these processes and materials is required to establish a rigorous basis for their better prediction and control.

Project objectives

  • A radically improved understanding of functional ink formulation and its interaction with the image carrier and substrate to optimise performance for high resolution printing;
  • The development of scientifically rigorous techniques for characterisation of the critical rheological properties of fluids in high deformation rate shear and extensional flows in order to achieve optimal performance; and
  • The establishment of performance metric(s) based on the first two objectives.

Key achievements

  • Rigorous validation of controlled stress parallel superposition rheometry.
  • Demonstration of the utility of superposition rheometry in providing data of both process and material relevance to the printed electronics industry.
  • Rheological characterisation and print trials on a number of model functional ink formulations.
  • Further details in paper published in Physics of Fluids

The success of the ARPLAE project led to the development of a new flagship project, P2CAR, which continues to develop, test and deploy new rheometric technologies - with the aim of improving process control and  yield in the large-area electronics industry.

Further details about ARPLAE

Meet some of the researchers

Posted in Past Projects.