While most self-printed, lowtech paper circuits-boards are built by using copper tape, beatgold or silver-based ink, Cirquids uses basic-ingredients like Salt and water to create a conductive path within the paper’s structure.
Conductive ink & salt water
By applying a suspension based on conductive ink and water onto a printed Cirquid, a remaining conductive paths can be define within the paper. Compared to the common method of brushing conductive ink onto a paper’s surface, the via wax defined barriers allow drawing more accurate circuits onto the paper, which further more remain within the paper’s fibers instead of only being drawn onto it’s surface.
In my bachelor thesis I found it more promising, more unique and challanging to work with another kind of solution to turn the paper-based conductive paths into a conductive status. Also the combination of electronics and water – which is more likely to be avoided – was tempting and offered the possibility to explore some unique ways of combining them in a useful ways.
By applying suspension based on salt and water liquid circuits can be created. Thus using the rather sustainable and metal-free materials, a fluid state of being conductive can be evoked within the paper.
By comapring them to common paper-based circuits, they offer additional values:
- conductive traces are only temporary existing
- thus makes it possible to activate and re-activate the Cirquits at a further date
- they show a fuzzy state of being conductive, as the water componends will evaporate
- contamination with (salt) water can initiate or trigger an operation
- their resistance will increase due to the vaporization process
- the conductive path is rather invisible (compared to other methods f.e. conductive ink)
- three-dimensional pathways can be built as the liquid is absorbed within the paper’s fibers
Another fascination phenomena occurred, when the Cirquid remained dry again. As the water components has vaporized, the salt remained on the paper’s surfaces, leaving a salty trace behind. Thus giving the paper a little sparkling effect and giving the possibility to apply pure water for activation the Cirquid once more. This time, the remaining salt will be dissolve and turn the usually non-conductive water into a conductive liquid.
one-way electronics and colorful traces
If electronic is or has been attached to a Cirquid and more than 5 volt has been connected to it, another colorful effect can occur. Due to oxidation and other chemical reactions the combination of salt, water, current flow and metal-based pins will leave characteristic traces within the paper.
Especially while thinking about the huge amount of produced electronics and the shortened life-circle of many electronically devices, coming up with one-way products that are mainly build out of paper and will disintegrate after a certain amount of time, fluid circuit board that have been produce with the Cirquid method can be one way to archive such products.
Colored liquid for 3D circuit stcutures
For testing three-dimensional structures colored liquid can be used to increase the visibility of the liquids journey through the folded paper structure.