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Sustainability: KIT Team Develops Biodegradable Display

The Display can only be used once. But it does not end as electronic scrap.

Compostable display: produced with an inkjet printer
(Picture: Manuel Pietsch, KIT)

Where to put the discarded electronic equipment? Every year large amounts of equipment are thrown away and not recycled. A team from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has developed a simple display that is biodegradable.

The display consists of organic materials and uses the electrochromic effect. If a voltage is applied to the organic material, its optical properties change, in this case the color.

The display is printed

The display can be produced with an inkjet printer. It is then coated with gelatine. This makes it elastic so that it can be worn on the body. It holds by adhesion.

The display is intended for simple applications, for example as a display for sensors in the medical field. Here, they would have to be elaborately disinfected after each application. Another conceivable application is the food industry: The display can be integrated into the packaging and provides information about the condition of the food. After use, the organic display is disposed of

The display is composted

However, no electronic waste is produced: The electrochromic display is composted at the end of its life. According to the KIT team, it has several advantages over conventional displays: Because of its simple design, it is cheap to produce. It also requires less electricity

“With our development we were able to show for the first time that it is possible to produce sustainable displays from predominantly natural materials using industrially relevant production methods. After use, they therefore do not contribute to electronic waste, but on the contrary can be composted,” said project manager Manuel Pietsch from the KIT Lighting Technology Institute (LTI) at the Innovationlab in Heidelberg. “This, in combination with recycling and reusability, could help to minimize or completely prevent some of the environmental impacts of electronic waste.”

The KIT team presents its development in the Journal of Materials Chemistry.

Read the original article here.