Research Article Open Access

Investigating Sintering Mechanisms for Additive Manufacturing of Conductive Traces

Jasmine McKenzie1 and Salil Desai1
  • 1 North Carolina A and T State University, United States


Additive Manufacturing (AM) processes enable the fabrication of miniaturized and flexible devices on complex geometries. This paper explores a hybrid additive manufacturing technology that integrates micro-extrusion and PICO-jetting methods. Conductive slurries and colloidal inks were optimized for their rheological properties to aid their precise deposition. A variety of conductive materials which include carbon, silver, nano-particle silver and nickel were deposited on both rigid (glass) and flexible (Kapton) substrates. The deposited traces were cured using two sintering mechanisms which include furnace heating and in situ laser irradiation. The effect of curing mechanism on the conductance of deposited traces was evaluated. The results indicated that traces could be cured successfully with the laser curing mechanism. Nickel and silver laser cured traces had lower resistivity than the furnace sintered traces. An increase in the laser power resulted in lower resistivity of the traces. The lowest resistivity was achieved at 40W laser power with a single laser pass. Scanning electron microscopy and energy dispersive spectroscopy were used to characterize the trace morphology and elemental compositions. Higher power laser curing resulted in better bonding of the particles. Laser cured samples had minimal oxidation to the cross-section region of the traces as compared to furnace cured samples. This research lays the foundation for the fabrication of electronic components for a high level of freeform 3D electronics using a hybrid additive manufacturing technology.

American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Volume 11 No. 2, 2018, 652-662


Submitted On: 19 April 2018 Published On: 5 May 2018

How to Cite: McKenzie, J. & Desai, S. (2018). Investigating Sintering Mechanisms for Additive Manufacturing of Conductive Traces. American Journal of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 11(2), 652-662.

  • 14 Citations



  • Additive Manufacturing
  • Electronics
  • Laser Curing
  • Multiphase Material
  • Sintering Mechanism