3D printing provides a reliable approach for the manufacture of carbon thermoplastic composite electrochemical sensors. Many studies have explored the impact of printing parameters on the electrochemical activity of carbon thermoplastic electrodes but limited is known about the influence of instrument parameters, which have been shown to alter the structure and mechanical strength of 3D printed thermoplastics. We explored the impact of extruder temperature, nozzle diameter and heated bed temperature on the electrochemical activity of carbon black/poly-lactic acid (CB/PLA) electrodes. Cyclic voltammetry and electrochemical impedance spectroscopy measurements were conducted using standard redox probes. The electrode surface and cross-section of the electrode was visualised using scanning electron microscopy. We found that using extruder temperatures of 230 °C and 240 °C improved the electrochemical activity of CB/PLA electrodes, due to an increase in surface roughness and a reduction in the number of voids in-between print layers. Nozzle diameter, heated bed temperature of different 3D printers did not impact the electrochemical activity of CB/PLA electrodes. However high-end printers provide improved batch reproducibility of electrodes. These findings highlight the key instrument parameters that need to be considered when manufacturing carbon thermoplastic composite electrochemical sensors when using 3D printing.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors would like to thank Bryony Butterworth for data analysis support, additionally the EPSRC (EP/V028391/1) for funding that supported this study.
© 2023, The Author(s).