Advanced Rheology for Printing Large Area Electronics (ARPLAE) project will address fundamental rheological barriers to achieving high resolution features in high yield contact printing processes. Improved understanding of the rheological aspects of these processes is required to establish a rigorous basis for their better prediction and control. This project is part of the Advanced Manufacturing Process theme within the Centre’s technical programme (see diagram on the right). Phase 1 of the project involves a 6-month scoping study, the subsequent phase being an 18-month technical programme. A detailed description of the latter phase will be finalized after considering the outcomes of phase 1 but its overall objectives are to:
- improve the understanding of functional ink formulation and its interaction with the image carrier and substrate to optimise performance for high resolution printing;
- develop scientifically rigorous techniques for characterisation of the critical rheological properties of fluids in high deformation rate shear and extensional flows in order to achieve optimal performance; and
- establish metric(s) pertinent to achieving (i) and (ii) above.
The development of industrially deployable performance metrics will be based on robust, fundamental measurements and their analysis, and the project will also assess rheometric approaches to the characterization of rheologically complex functional ink systems, these approaches being based on adapted forms of instrumentation used in other related fields.