✕ Home
  
▵ Up
Electroless Plating of NiP and Cu on Polylactic Acid and Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol-Modified for 3D Printed Flexible Substrates
Electroless Plating of NiP and Cu on Polylactic Acid and Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol-Modified for 3D Printed Flexible Substrates

Electroless nickel and copper metallization of 3D printed polymers like polylactic acid and polyethylene terephthalate glycol modified is presented. The plating process is tested on suitable samples, which reproduce the characteristic morphologies used in 3D printing of objects. An alkaline etching is used for both polymers in order to modify the surface properties and to enhance the adhesion and uniformity of the metallic coating. In the case of polylactic acid, a plasma treatment is applied as well to further improve adhesion of the metallic coating. For the activation of the surface, a tin free process involving an immersion in a palladium solution and subsequent reduction to form metallic nuclei is employed. Electrolytes are formulated and selected to operate in temperature ranges comparable with the glass transition temperatures of the polymers. Adherent and uniform layers of NiP (3–4% P wt) and Cu can be easily obtained for esthetic and functional applications, also on flexible substrates.