Abstract

Previous studies have shown that metallic coatings can be successfully cold sprayed (CS) onto several polymer substrates. However, the electrical performance of the cold-sprayed polymers is not generally enough to utilize them as an electronic device. In this study, an environment-friendly metallization technique has been proposed to achieve highly electrically conductive metal patterns onto polymer substrates using cold spray deposition and subsequent electroless copper plating (ECP). Copper feedstock powder was CS onto the surface of the acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene (ABS) parts. The as-CS powders then served as the activating agent for the selective ECP to modify the surface of the polymers to be electrically conductive. A series of characterizations were conducted to investigate the morphology, analyze the surface chemistry, evaluate the electrical performance, mechanical adhesion, and mechanical strength performance of the fabricated coatings. Moreover, simple electrical circuits were presented for the ABS parts through the described method. Findings demonstrated that low-pressure cold spray copper deposition followed by the ECP processes could be used as an environmental-friendly manufacturing method of electrically conductive patterns on ABS polymer.

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