Inkjet printing is an emerging technology with key advantages that make it suitable for the fabrication of stretchable circuits. Specifically, this process is cost-effective and less complex compared to conventional fabrication technologies. Inkjet printing has several process and geometry parameters that significantly affect the electromechanical properties of the printed circuits. This study aims to optimize the geometry parameters of inkjet-printed silver nanoparticle traces on plasma-treated polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates. The optimization process was conducted for two printed shapes, namely straight line and horseshoe patterns. The examined input factors for the straight line traces were: the number of inkjet-printed layers and line width. On the other hand, the number of cycles and amplitude were the examined input parameters for the horseshoe shape. First, the optimal number of layers and line width were found from the straight line analysis and subsequently were used in the optimization of the horseshoe pattern parameters. The optimization of the input parameters was carried out using the response surface methodology (RSM), where the objective of the optimization was to maximize the breakdown strain of the traces while maximizing the gauge factor and minimizing the ink cost. The results indicate that a 1.78 mm line width and one layer are the optimal geometry parameters for the straight line traces, while for the horseshoe pattern, the optimal parameters are one layer, a line width of 1.78 mm, amplitude of 4 mm and one cycle. The optimal straight line was designed to sustain up to 10% strain while the horseshoe pattern was designed to sustain up to 15% strain.

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Published in Materials v. 12, issue 20, 3329.

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This research was funded by the Scientific Research Support Fund (SRF) in Jordan in the framework of the research project no. Eng/2/8/2013.