Additive Manufacturing of Sandwich-Structured Conductors for Applications in Flexible and Stretchable Electronics


Additive manufacturing methods have shown great potentials to substitute the costly and time-consuming conventional subtractive methods in the processing of electronically conductive materials for applications in flexible and stretchable electronics. Herein, additive manufacturing of highly conductive, sandwich-structured conductors with high-temperature processibility and versatility in applicable substrates is reported. The sandwich-structured conductors with silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs) as electronic conductors and polyimide (PI) as encapsulation are layer-by-layer deposited by aerosol printing into PI/Ag/PI composites. A high annealing temperature of 250 °C contributes to the high electronic conductivity of the Ag layer at 1.14 × 107 S m-1, which is in the same order of magnitude to the conductivity of bulk Ag at 6.3 × 107 S m-1. The high annealing temperature also significantly improves the interfacial bonding between the Ag and PI layers. For applications in flexible and stretchable electronics, the sandwich-structured conductors are transferrable to various substrates through a thiol−epoxy bonding process, including polystyrene (PS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), Kapton, and polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) thin films. The sandwich-structured conductors transferred to flexible and stretchable substrates exhibit highly retained electronic conductivity under deformations such as bending and stretching.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Second Department

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Intelligent Systems Center

Second Research Center/Lab

INSPIRE - University Transportation Center


This work is supported by seed fund from Intelligent System Center (ISC) at Missouri University of Science and Technology. This work is also partially supported by the National Science Foundation under grant No. 1635256 and No. 1846673.

Keywords and Phrases

Additive Manufacturing; Aerosol Printing; Conductors; Flexible Electronics; Polyimide; Printed Electronics; Stretchable Electronics

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

1438-1656; 1527-2648

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2021 Wiley, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Sep 2021