Scientists from the United States have presented printed electronics that can be reused. It is environmentally friendly and completely recyclable.
Duke University engineers developed the world’s first fully recyclable printed electronics. They were the first to release a very important and difficult-to-manufacture computer element – a transistor. It is created with three carbon-based inks. Scientists want to inspire colleagues to create a new generation of recyclable electronics to combat the growth of e-waste.
“Silicon-based computer components will probably never go away forever. But we hope that in the future, easily recyclable electronics will replace technologies and devices that are already widely used today, ”said Aaron Franklin, involved in the development. “We want to show that such electronics can do a lot, and its use does not entail any drawbacks.”
The three carbon-based inks print easily onto paper or other flexible and environmentally friendly surfaces. Carbon nanotubes and graphene inks are used for semiconductors and conductors.
Researchers have developed a method for slurrying nanocellulose crystals obtained from wood fibers. By using the three inks in an aerosol inkjet printer at room temperature, the team has shown that their all-carbon transistors perform well in a wide variety of applications, even six months after printing.
The team then showed that their designs were recyclable. They immersed the devices in several baths, gently treating them with sound waves. Both materials can then be reused in the same printing process with little to no loss in productivity. And since nanocellulose is made from wood, it can be recycled along with the paper it was printed on.