Ultrasonic Production of Conductive Inks on Large Scale

  • Uniformly dispersed nanoparticles such as silver, graphene or CNTs with an precisely tailored particle size are crucial for production highly conductive inks.
  • Powerful ultrasonic dispersers allow to synthesize, deagglomerate and distribute metallic (e.g. Ag), carbon-based (e.g. CNTs, graphene) nanoparticles as well as nanocomposites with excellent electrical conductivity.
  • Hielscher ultrasonic dispersers ensure high quality dispersions, while being very effective, reliable, and cost-efficient.

Ultrasonic Dispersion of Conductive Nanoparticles

Conductive ink has – as its name indicates – the functionality of electrical conductivity. To prepare conductive inks and coatings, components that conduct electricity (conductive fillers) must be very uniform dispersed into the ink base. Nanoparticles such as silver, copper, CNTs, graphene, graphite, other metal-coated particles and nanocomposites are incorporated for high conductivity.
Ultrasonic processors create extremely intensive shear forces, by which van der Waals forces and molecular bondings can be overcome. Ultrasonic dispersion is the preferred technique to disperse nanoparticles, since sonication gives a very narrow grain size distribution, high particle functionalities and reproducible results.

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Ultrasonic batch reactor for the dispersion of nanomaterials in conductive inks.

Ultrasonic batch reactor for the dispersion of nanomaterials in conductive inks.

 

The video shows the ultrasonic mixing and dispersing of Graphite in 250mL of Epoxy Resin (Toolcraft L), using an ultrasonic homogenizer (UP400St, Hielscher Ultrasonics). Hielscher Ultrasonics makes equipment to disperse graphite, graphene, carbon-nanotubes, nanowires or fillers in the lab or in high volume production processes. Typical applications are the dispersing nano materials and micro materials during the functionalization process or for dispersing into resins or polymers.

Mix Epoxy Resin with Graphite Filler using Ultrasonic Homogenizer UP400St (400 Watts)

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Ultrasonic Production of:

Ultrasonic Dispersion of Dielectric Nanoparticles

In order to impart insulating properties into an composite, dielectric particles such as SiO2, ZnO, alumina-epoxy nanocomposites amongst others must be dispersed homogeneously as single particles into the matrix. Ultrasonic dispersing ensures that agglomerates are broken so that the nanoparticles are well dispersed. A very narrow particle distribution is crucial to obtain a reliable dielectric functionality of the material.

Hielscher High-Power Ultrasonicators for Nanodispersions

Powerful ultrasonic systems ensure the reliable dispersion of nanoparticles – on lab and bench-top level up to fully industrial scale. in comparison to other ultrasonic suppliers, Hielscher ultrasonic system are capable to deliver very high amplitudes of up to 200µm – continuously run in 24/7 operation and with simple sonotrode shapes. If an application requires even higher amplitudes and/or very high temperatures, Hielscher offers customized ultrasonic sonotrodes, which can deliver amplitudes of >200µm and inserted into very hot environments (e.g. for sonication of metal melts). The robustness of Hielscher ultrasonic equipment fullfils industrial standards. All our equipment is built for 24/7 operation at heavy duty and in demanding environments.

The table below gives you an indication of the approximate processing capacity of our ultrasonicators:

Batch Volume Flow Rate Recommended Devices
10 to 2000mL 20 to 400mL/min UP200Ht, UP400St
0.1 to 20L 0.2 to 4L/min UIP2000hdT
10 to 100L 2 to 10L/min UIP4000
n.a. 10 to 100L/min UIP16000
n.a. larger cluster of UIP16000

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Please use the form below, if you wish to request additional information about ultrasonic homogenization. We will be glad to offer you an ultrasonic system meeting your requirements.









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Ultrasonically synthesized nanofluids are efficient coolants and heat exchanger liquids. Thermoconductive nanomaterials increase heat transfer and heat dissipation capacity significantly. Sonication is well established in the synthesis and functionalization of thermoconductive nanoparticles as well as the production of stable high-performant nanofluids for cooling applications.

Dispersing CNTs in Polyethylene Glycol (PEG)

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Advantages of Ultrasonic Fabrication of Conductive Inks

  • tailored particle size
  • high conductivity
  • high particle loads
  • low to high viscosities
  • process control
  • easy processing
  • rapid
  • cost-efficient
Hielscher's UIP16000 is a 16kW high-power ultrasonicator for the production of conductive inks, pastes and polymers. (Click to  enlarge!)

Industrial ultrasonic processor UIP16000 (16kW) for the production of conductive inks


Literature / Reference



Facts Worth Knowing

Electrically Conductive Nanoparticles

Nanoparticles (NPs) offer unique material characteristics, which can differ drastically from the material’s bulk characterics. Nanomaterials come in manifold shapes. They can have a extremely high aspect ratio of 1:1,000,000 (e.g. nanotubes) or perfectly sherical shape. Beside tubes and spheres, nanoparticles have the form of rods, wires, whiskers, nanoflowers, fibres, flakes and dots.
Size and shape of nanoparticles play an important role regarding the NPs properties such as tensile strength, flexibility, thermomechanical, conductive, dielectric, magnetic, and optical properties. To impart those functionalities into composites, NPs must be dispersed and blended uniformly into the matrix. To obtain such a high quality dispersion, ultrasonication is the preferred dispersing technique.
Electrically conductive nanoparticles are widely used to give inks and coatings the capacity of electrical conduciveness. Nano-silver (nano-Ag) is one of the most used nanofillers in conductive inks. Silver-based conductive inks can be formulated as water-based and screen-printable inks, which are flexible and crease resistant.

Conductive Inks

Conductive inks are conductive polymers (polyaniline, polythiophene or polypyrroles, etc.), which can be deposited via ink-jet printing, spin-coating etc. Common electro-conductive inks can be classified into three categories corresponding to their conductive components, which can be either noble metals, conductive polymers, or carbon nanomaterials. Conductive inks have a wide application range and are used in the manufacturing of electronics, packaging (PET and plastic films), sensors, antennae, RFID tags/labels, touch screens, OLED displays, printed heaters and many others.
PEDOT:PSS [poly(3,4-ethylenedioxythiophene) poly(styrenesulfonate)] is one of most heavily used conductive polymers, which offer besides its high conductivity a transparent appearance. By adding a network of carbon nanotubes, silver nanowires and/or graphene, the conductivity of PEDOT:PSS can be significantly enhanced. Modified PEDOT:PSS inks and formulations are available for different coating and printing processes. Water-based PEDOT:PSS inks are mainly used in slot die coating, flexography, rotogravure and inkjet printing.

Dielectric Inks

Dielectric inks and coatings are electrically non-conductive and are used in the screen printing of electronic circuit boards in order to built an insulating layer for the protection and enhancement conductive materials.
Dielectric nanoparticles are used to give inks, pastes and coatings an insulating capacity.


High performance ultrasonics! Hielscher's product range covers the full spectrum from the compact lab ultrasonicator over bench-top units to full-industrial ultrasonic systems.

Hielscher Ultrasonics manufactures high-performance ultrasonic homogenizers from lab to industrial size.


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