Possibilities of a 3D printing pen in fabrication of RFID tags
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The main objective of this thesis is to use eco-friendly and cost effective material to fabricate radio frequency identification technology (RFID) platforms with wide range of applications. The innovation which is desired is to use only one type of material in making the platforms and even the conductive glue shouldn’t be used to make a contact in between the conductive thread and integrated circuitry (IC), the only two components used inside the 3D printed wireless platform. The motive was to achieve enough bending reliability of the platform so it could be used in various wearable applications. There should be a design which have enough bending reliability and should give a good read range result while the tag being used as an application in water. So making a tag water proof is another objective of this thesis to achieve. The aim is to perform two reliability tests, the bending and water and check out the performance of tags after these tests. To make the flexible passive ultra-high frequency (UHF) RFID platforms the used material is 3D printed biodegradable plastic. So in this process a 3D printing pen with non-toxic Bisphenol A (BPA)-free material is used. The platforms are made by hand using 3D printing pen and initially three designs are proposed and drawn accordingly. A bending reliability test is performed and two of the designs sustained the bending test and showed good result so these two designs are finalized for further tags making and testing. In the process of making tag on these substrates one of the problem encountered is that it isn’t possible to make the tag on that substrate with proposed antenna specifications due to the design malfunction. So another substrate is designed and bending reliability is checked with test. The bending reliability test is performed at three different cases with different radius of thermago (a round shaped solid material) and epdm (non-conductive paper like material) is used to increase the radius so the conditions might fulfill the desired criterion. Both substrates sustained the bending at the minimum radius of 3.7 cm and maximum radius of 6.3 cm for 3 minutes which is more than enough to use in wearable application. In the process of making tags a conductive thread, IC and BPA free material is used instead of conductive glue. After making the tags of both substrates of type D and type E which are named to make the proper sense of results, each type have three samples for good results and comparison. Tags are analyzed on the basis of read range which are taken for results. Read ranges are taken before bending for both types and after bending at three radius. Then a layer is 3D printed on top of the conductive thread and same tests are performed. Another reliability test is performed in water for both types and after that dry test is also performed to have a comparison of results. Both D and E type tags performed very well in reliability tests of bending and water and even after drying. Both types are analyzed with a layer drawn on the conductive thread. All of the performed tests and results of read ranges for both types are really convincing. Although D type tags have varying results but fair enough to make the decision that achieved results are executable. While E type tags have very constant results in all tests. For measurement purpose anechoic chamber and Tagformance software an RFID measurement system is used to carry out the results of read range. E type tags have average read range of 6 m while D type have average read range of 5 m. The measurements are taken in the frequency range of 800-1000 MHz.