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Numerical Simulation of an Additive Manufacturing Process for Low-impedance Electronics

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Conference Abstract: Additive manufacturing of electronics (AME) is being developed as a promising application in the field of additive manufacturing. AME allows a new design approach, significant performance improvement and a lower environmental impact for electronic components.

Current additive manufacturing systems for electronics use Ink-Jet technology. By applying a conductive and a non-conductive ink layerwise, a volume, which can contain conductive wires and an insulating body, is formed. Due to the wetting behavior of the droplets and the alternating application of conductive and non-conductive ink, the resulting shape at the edge of the conductive material is very rough.

As the Skin-Effect leads to a high current density at the outline of a conductor, the large roughness has a negative effect on the transmission of high-frequency signals. Using a blockwise printing strategy, it should be possible to reduce the roughness of the outline significantly. This new approach for a printing strategy has been successfully tested. However, questions arise regarding the most influential printing parameters and the influences of the printing strategy to achieve a possibly steep stacking. According to simulations, the improvement in performance is around the factor of 2 to 4, depending on the frequency and the properties of the dielectric material.

This is a high-dimensional problem in a micro-scale environment, and thus, it is hard to find the most important correlations using physical experiments. Therefore, a 3D-computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model was built and automized to perform the stacking of multiple droplets in a DoE-based parameter space. By running several 1000 simulations in combination with machine learning, it is possible to obtain a comprehensive picture of the high-dimensional parameter space.
  • Tobias Hehn
    Dipl.-Ing., PhD Student
    Bundeswehr Research Institute for Materials, Fuels and Lubricants (WIWeB)