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Title: Photochemical copper coating on 3D printed thermoplastics
Authors: Yung, WKC 
Sun, B 
Huang, J 
Jin, Y
Meng, Z
Choy, HS 
Cai, Z 
Li, G 
Ho, CL
Yang, J
Wong, WY 
Issue Date: 2016
Source: Scientific reports, 9 2016, v. 6, no. , p. 1-7
Abstract: 3D printing using thermoplastics has become very popular in recent years, however, it is challenging to provide a metal coating on 3D objects without using specialized and expensive tools. Herein, a novel acrylic paint containing malachite for coating on 3D printed objects is introduced, which can be transformed to copper via one-step laser treatment. The malachite containing pigment can be used as a commercial acrylic paint, which can be brushed onto 3D printed objects. The material properties and photochemical transformation processes have been comprehensively studied. The underlying physics of the photochemical synthesis of copper was characterized using density functional theory calculations. After laser treatment, the surface coating of the 3D printed objects was transformed to copper, which was experimentally characterized by XRD. 3D printed prototypes, including model of the Statue of Liberty covered with a copper surface coating and a robotic hand with copper interconnections, are demonstrated using this painting method. This composite material can provide a novel solution for coating metals on 3D printed objects. The photochemical reduction analysis indicates that the copper rust in malachite form can be remotely and photo-chemically reduced to pure copper with sufficient photon energy.
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Journal: Scientific reports 
EISSN: 2045-2322
DOI: 10.1038/srep31188
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit
© The Author(s) 2016
The following publication Yung, W., Sun, B., Huang, J. et al. Photochemical Copper Coating on 3D Printed Thermoplastics. Sci Rep 6, 31188 (2016) is available at
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