Main Article Content
With environmental awareness in societies, bioplastics continue to receive increasing attention and utilization rate. Polylactic acid (PLA) is one of the most important biopolymers in the market today, owing to its high strength and relative ease of forming. Unlike the common structural, fossil fuel-based plastics, such as Acrylonitrile-Butadiene-Styrene (ABS), the surface of PLA cannot be readily metallized in preparation for electroplating using the conventional plating-on-plastic (POP) process. This partially limits the wider use of the material for functional and decorative applications. In this research study, we systematically explored three strategies for metallizing the surface of PLA, namely, (A) chemical etching and palladium activation technique, (B) polyelectrolyte multilayers (PEMs) and Ag nanoparticle deposition technique, and (C) Ag conductive painting technique. PLA samples, prepared by Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) 3D-printing technique, were metallized by various techniques followed by electroless deposition and electroplating of copper layers. The study was performed comparatively with respect to the ABS surface. The samples microstructures, chemical distributions, and plating characteristics were assessed with optical and scanning electron microscopy. The adhesion of the metallic coatings was analyzed using scratch test and tape test. Although uniform deposition of copper layers on PLA surfaces could be achieved using all three metallizing methods under investigation, the three methods were found to provide different degrees of benefits with respect to deposition rate, surface uniformity, and process simplicity.
Keywords: poly(lactic acid); metallizing; electroplating; plating-on-plastic; fused deposition modelling 3d-printing technique
*Corresponding author: Tel.: (+66) 22184243 Fax: (+66) 26117586
Copyright Transfer Statement
The copyright of this article is transferred to Current Applied Science and Technology journal (CAST) with effect if and when the article is accepted for publication. The copyright transfer covers the exclusive right to reproduce and distribute the article, including reprints, translations, photographic reproductions, electronic form (offline, online) or any other reproductions of similar nature.
The author warrants that this contribution is original and that he/she has full power to make this grant. The author signs for and accepts responsibility for releasing this material on behalf of any and all co-authors.
Here is the link for download: Copyright transfer form.pdf
 Equbal, A., Equbal, A. and Sood, A.K., 2014. Metallization on FDM Processed Parts Using Electroless Procedure. Procedia Materials Science, 6, 1197-1206.
 Equbal, A. and Sood, A.K., 2015. Investigations on metallization in FDM build ABS part using electroless deposition method. Journal of Manufacturing Processes, 19, 22-31.
 Wang, Y., Cheng, B. and Jing, X., 2013. Adhesion improvement of electroless copper plating on phenolic resin matrix composite through a tin-free sensitization process. Applied Surface Science, 271, 303-310.
 Tong, J., Su, L., Haraya, K., and Suda. H., 2008. Thin Pd membrane on α-Al2O3 hollow fiber substrate without any interlayer by electroless plating combined with embedding Pd catalyst in polymer template. Journal of Membrane Science, 310(1), 93-101.
 Inagaki, N. and Kimura, H., 2009. Electroless copper plating on acrylonitrile butadiene styrene material surfaces without chromic acid etching and a palladium catalyst. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 111(2), 1034-1044.
 Tang, X., Cao, M., Bi, C., Yan, L. and Zhang, B., 2008. Research on a new surface activation process for electroless plating on ABS plastic. Materials Letters, 62(6), 1089-1091.
 Li, D. and Yang, C.L., 2009. Acidic electroless copper deposition on aluminum-seeded ABS plastics. Surface and Coatings Technology, 203(23), 3559-3568.
 Bazzaoui, M., Martins, J.I., Bazzaoui, E.A., Albourine, A., Wang, R.and Hong, P.D., 2013. A simple method for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene metallization. Surface and Coatings Technology, 224, 71-76.
 Luo, L.M., Lu, Z.L., Huang, X.M., Tan, X.Y., Ding, X.Y., Cheng, J.G., Zhu, L., and Wu, Y.C., 2014. Electroless copper plating on PC engineering plastic with a novel palladium-free surface activation process. Surface and Coatings Technology, 251, 69-73.
 Tengsuwan, S. and Ohshima, M., 2012. Electroless nickel plating on polypropylene via hydrophilic modification and supercritical carbon dioxide Pd-complex infusion. The Journal of Supercritical Fluids, 69, 117-123.
 Teixeira, L. and Santini, M., 2005. Surface conditioning of ABS for metallization without the use of chromium baths. Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 170(1), 37-41.
 Tang, X., Bi, C., Han, C. and Zhang, B., 2009. A new palladium-free surface activation process for Ni electroless plating on ABS plastic. Materials Letters, 63(11), 840-842.
 Skelly, J., 2008. Decorative plating processes for common plastic resins: Resin selection as well as plastic part design is critical to matching the right finishing method with the intended application. Metal Finishing, 106(6), 61-65.
 Rocha, C.J.L., Álvarez-Castillo, E., Yáñez, M.R.E., Bengoechea, C., Guerrero, A. and Ledesma, M.T.O., 2020. Development of bioplastics from a microalgae consortium from wastewater. Journal of Environmental Management, 263, 110353, https://doi.org/10.1016/ j.jenvman.2020.110353.
 Shen, M., Song, B., Zeng, G., Zhang, Y., Huang, W., Wen, X. and Tang, W., 2020. Are biodegradable plastics a promising solution to solve the global plastic pollution?. Environmental Pollution, 263, 114469, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114469.
 Viera, J.S.C., Marques, M.R.C., Nazareth, M.C., Jimenez, P.C. and Castro, Í.B., 2020. On replacing single-use plastic with so-called biodegradable ones: The case with straws. Environmental Science & Policy, 106, 177-181.
 Bugnicourt, E., Cinelli, P., Alvarez, V. and Lazzeri, A., 2014. Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA): Review of synthesis, characteristics, processing and potential applications in packaging. Express Polymer Letters, 8, 791-808.
 Shafqat, A., Tahir, A., Mahmood, A., Tabinda, A.B., Yasar, A. and Pugazhendhi, A., 2020. A review on environmental significance carbon foot prints of starch based bio-plastic: A substitute of conventional plastics. Biocatalysis and Agricultural Biotechnology, 27, 101540, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bcab.2020.101540.
 RameshKumar, S., Shaiju, P. O'Connor, K.E. and Babu, R., 2020. Bio-based and biodegradable polymers - state-of-the-art, challenges and emerging trends. Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, 21, 75-81.
 Thakur, S., Chaudhary, J., Sharma, B., Verma, A., Tamulevicius, S. and Thakur, V.K., 2018. Sustainability of bioplastics: Opportunities and challenges. Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, 13, 68-75.
 Kumar, M., Rathour, R., Singh, R., Sun, Y., Pandey, A., Gnansounou, E., Lin, K.Y.A. and Tsang, D.C.W., 2020. Bacterial polyhydroxyalkanoates: Opportunities, challenges, and prospects. Journal of Cleaner Production, 263, 121500, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro. 2020.121500.
 Ng, W.K. and Chow, W.S., 2020. Plastics in 3D Printing. Reference Module in Materials Science and Materials Engineering. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science.
 Bernasconi, R., Natale, G., Levi, M. and Magagnin, L., 2016. Electroless plating of NiP and Cu on polylactic acid and polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified for 3D printed flexible substrates. Journal of The Electrochemical Society, 163(9), D526-D531.
 Dixit, N.K., Srivastava, R. and Narain, R., 2017. Electroless metallic coating on plastic parts produced by rapid prototyping technique. Materials Today: Proceedings, 4(8), 7643-7653.
 Arun, K., Aravindh, K., Raja, K., Jeeva, P.A. and Karthikeyan, S., 2018. Metallization of PLA plastics prepared by FDM-RP process and evaluation of corrosion and hardness characteristics. Materials Today: Proceedings, 5(5, Part 2), 13107-13110.
 Khan, M.S., Mishra, S.B., Kumar, M.A. and Banerjee, D., 2018. Optimizing surface texture and coating thickness of nickel coated ABS-3D parts. Materials Today: Proceedings, 5(9, Part 3), 19011-19018.
 Lee, S., Wajahat, M., Kim, J.H., Pyo, J., Chang, W.S., Cho, S.H., Kim, J.T. and Seol, S.K., 2019. Electroless deposition-assisted 3D printing of micro circuitries for structural electronics. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 11(7), 7123-7130.
 Adachi, H., Taki, K., Nagamine, S., Yusa, A. and Ohshima, M., 2009. Supercritical carbon dioxide assisted electroless plating on thermoplastic polymers. The Journal of Supercritical Fluids, 49(2), 265-270.
 Wang, M.-Q., Yan, J., Du, S.-G. and Qin, H., 2013. A novel process of electroless nickel plating on PVC with semi-IPN hydrogel pretreatment. Journal of Alloys and Compounds, 557, 270-273.
 Tamai, T., Watanabe, M., Kobayashi, Y., Nakahara, Y. and Yajima, S., 2017. Surface modification of PEN and PET substrates by plasma treatment and layer-by-layer assembly of polyelectrolyte multilayer thin films and their application in electroless deposition. RSC Advances, 7(53), 33155-33161.
 Tamai, T., Watanabe, M., Kobayashi, Y., Kobata, J., Nakahara, Y. and Yajima, S., 2019. Surface modification of polyethylene naphthalate substrates by ultraviolet light-irradiation and assembling multilayers and their application in electroless deposition: The chemical and physical properties of the stratified structure. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects, 575, 230-236.
 Azim, S.S., Satheesh, A., Ramu, K.K., Ramu, S. and Venkatachari, G., 2006. Studies on graphite based conductive paint coatings. Progress in Organic Coatings, 55(1), 1-4.
 Jammes, A., Petisme, M. and Staelens, K., 2017. Metallization and selective metallization of silver by spraying. Surface and Coatings Technology, 332, 560-563.
 Buasri, A., Ongmali, D., Sriboonpeng, P., Prompanut, S. and Loryuenyong, V., 2018. Synthesis of PET-PLA copolymer from recycle plastic bottle and study of its applications in the electrochromic devices with graphene conductive ink. Materials Today: Proceedings, 5(5, Part 1), 11060-11067.
 Naghdi, S., Rhee, K.Y., Hui, D. and Park, S.J., 2018. A review of conductive metal nanomaterials as conductive, transparent, and flexible coatings, thin films, and conductive fillers: Different deposition methods and applications. Coatings, 8(8), https://doi.org/10.3390/ coatings8080278.
 Andreotti, I.A.A., Orzari, L.O., Camargo, J.R., Faria, R.C., Marcolino-Junior, L.H., Bergamini, M.F., Gatti, A. and Janegitz, B.C., 2019. Disposable and flexible electrochemical sensor made by recyclable material and low cost conductive ink. Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, 840, 109-116.
 Bartolomeo, A.D., Iemmo, L., Urban, F., Palomba, M., Carotenuto, G., Longo, A., Sorrentino, A., Giubileo, F., Barucca, G., Rovere, M., Tagliaferro, A., Ambrosone, G. and Coscia, U., 2019. Graphite platelet films deposited by spray technique on low density polyethylene substrates. Materials Today: Proceedings, 20, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.matpr.2019.09.086.
 Dehchar, C., Chikouche, I., Kherrat, R., Sahari, A., Zouaoui, A. and Merati, A., 2018. Electroless copper deposition on epoxy glass substrate for electrocatalysis of formaldehyde. Materials Letters, 228, 439-442.
 Iamsamai, C., Soottitantawat, A., Ruktanonchai, U., Hannongbua, S. and Dubas, S.T., 2011. Simple method for the layer-by-layer surface modification of multiwall carbon nanotubes. Carbon, 49(6), 2039-2045.
 Rehig, D.L. and Mandich, N.V., 1999. Throwing Power & Cathode Efficiencies of Gold Electroplating Solutions under Pulse Regimes. [online] Available at: https://www.nmfrc. org/pdf/p1299b.pdf.
 Saviello, D., Andena, L., Gastaldi, D., Toniolo, L. and Goidanich, S., 2018. Multi-analytical approach for the morphological, molecular, and mechanical characterization after photo-oxidation of polymers used in artworks. Journal of Applied Polymer Science, 135, 46194, https://doi.org/10.1002/app.46194.
 Kurkcu, P., Andena, L. and Pavan, A., 2014. An experimental investigation of the scratch behaviour of polymers-2: Influence of hard or soft fillers. Wear, 317(1), 277-290.