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Increasing the Reliability of 3D Printing a Wi-Fi Sensor Device
Keywords: 3D Printing, Reliability, sensor
Printed electronics and 3D printing have proved their viability for manufacturing functional devices. The state of the art is now at a crossroads where yield, reliability, survivability, and longevity improvements will govern its continued success in manufacturing. Currently, 3D printed electronics demonstration parts are meticulously fabricated and involve significant human interaction and repair and ultimately have low manufacturing yield. Presented here are techniques for improving manufacturing yield. Coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) mismatch problems frequently occur in devices with heterogeneous materials such as bulk metals, thermoplastics, thermosets, conductive pastes and inks, and pourable dielectrics. Controlling the interfaces between these materials in new and creative ways is key to solving these problems during manufacturing and lifecycle. Selecting materials with good properties such as adhesion, surface energy, flexibility, conductivity, dielectric properties is the path forward to excellence in this field. Reliability, survivability, and longevity fall in a common category which is the property of a finished product to be rugged and long-lasting in real-world conditions. Certain improvements in the design of 3D printed electronic devices are demonstrated here which are here shown to improve ruggedness. A long-lasting 3D printed electronic device which has been operating 24/7 for 18,000 hours is shown and the techniques of its design and fabrication are described in detail. Several testing procedures are used to evaluate the performance of the devices. Contact resistance between materials is rigorously measured and overall device function is verified before, during, and after mechanical vibration and temperature changes.
P.I. Deffenbaugh,
Orlando, FL

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