Loughborough University
Final version of the paper submitted after corrections updated.pdf (2.47 MB)

Three dimensional printed electronic devices realised by selective laser melting of copper/high-density-polyethylene powder mixtures

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journal contribution
posted on 2018-01-04, 13:42 authored by Shuai Hou, Siyuan Qi, David HuttDavid Hutt, John TyrerJohn Tyrer, Mulan Mu, Zuoxin Zhou
A manufacturing process with the capability to integrate electronics into 3D structures is of great importance to the development of next-generation miniaturised devices. In this study, Selective Laser Melting (SLM) was used to process copper/high-density-polyethylene (HDPE) powder mixtures to build conductive tracks in a 3D circuit system. The effects of copper/HDPE volume ratio, laser input power and scanning speed on the resistivity of CO 2 laser processed tracks were investigated. The resistivity of the tracks decreased from 26.6 ± 0.6 × 10 −4 Ωcm to 1.9 ± 0.1 × 10 −4 Ωcm as the copper volume ratio increased from 30% to 60%. However, further increasing the copper ratio to 100% resulted in poor conductivity. The lowest resistivity was achieved with an input power of 20 W and scanning speed of 80 mm/s. Additionally, processing using single-track-scanning and raster-scanning programs was compared; the overall energy distribution on the surface was more uniform using a raster-scanning program, which further reduced the resistivity to 0.35 ± 0.04 × 10 −4 Ωcm. Based on the results, a 3D multi-layered circuit system was manufactured with the HDPE as the substrate/matrix material and copper/HDPE mixture as the conductive-track material. This circuit system was successfully manufactured, demonstrating the possibility of using SLM technology to manufacture dissimilar materials towards 3D electronic applications.


The authors would like to thank the Wolfson School and Materials Research School, Loughborough University for financial support of PhD Scholarships and Laser Optical Engineering Ltd for additional financial support.



  • Mechanical, Electrical and Manufacturing Engineering

Published in

Journal of Materials Processing Technology




310 - 324


HOU, S. ... et al, 2017. Three dimensional printed electronic devices realised by selective laser melting of copper/high-density-polyethylene powder mixtures. Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 254, pp. 310-324.


© Elsevier


  • AM (Accepted Manuscript)

Publisher statement

This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Materials Processing Technology and the definitive published version is available at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jmatprotec.2017.11.020.

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