Matériaux & Techniques
Volume 109, Number 5-6, 2021
Special Issue on ‘Materials and Society: the circular economy, design for circularity and industrial symbiosis’, edited by Jean-Pierre Birat, Gaël Fick, Nicolas Perry, Andrea Declich, Leiv Kolbensein, Dominique Millet and Thecle Alix
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Environnement - recyclage / Environment - recycling|
|Published online||10 May 2022|
Influence of design properties of printed electronics on their environmental profile
Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP, Department Life Cycle Engineering GaBi, Stuttgart, Germany
2 University of Stuttgart, Institute for Acoustics and Building Physics, Department of Life Cycle Engineering GaBi, Stuttgart, Germany
* e-mail: email@example.com
Accepted: 10 February 2022
In the context of an Internet of things (IoT) vision, printed and embedded electronics have gained serious momentum over recent years. Large leaps in innovation promote the applicability of the technology and help reduce device cost significantly. Additionally, printed electronics are often perceived as a green technology with high potential of replacing established subtractive manufacturing methods and act as an enabler in many areas of society. However, their environmental impacts are still rarely investigated thoroughly. Device development for printed electronics typically starts with the definition of functionalities rather than exact knowledge about components and materials, making an integrated early-stage life cycle assessment (LCA) of the devices challenging due to the typically large amount of possible technical solutions for each use case. This contribution fundamentally supports the idea that getting involved with environmental considerations as early as possible in the development is pivotal in avoiding sustainability pitfalls from the start. Consequently, several LCA studies are summarised focusing on three different sustainability scopes: material, production and device, as well as use-phase and end-of-life. The work aims to provide an overview over the sustainability potentials and risks of the production processes of printed electronics from flexible substrates and conductive inks based on micro- and nano-sized particles. Different filler materials for the inks are considered, as their impact heavily influences the overall device impacts. In conclusion, recommendations for further work in the field are derived, summarising potentials of printed electronics, while equally considering remaining challenges. Thus, the conducted work contributes to a better understanding of environmental impacts in the development of printed electronics and helps applying the findings already at the very first development stages.
Key words: environmental footprint / printed electronics / functional materials / conductive particles and formulations / LCA / design for environment
© T.M. Prenzel et al., 2022
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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