Date of Award

Spring 2016

Project Type


Program or Major

Chemical Engineering

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Dale P Barkey

Second Advisor

Nivedita Gupta

Third Advisor

Xiaowei Teng


The focus of this study is on synthesis of silver nanowires (AgNWs) for conductive inks suitable for economical screen printing of conductive grids on solar panels. AgNWs were synthesized by a polyol process in both batch and continuous reactors, and a reaction mechanism was described. The morphology, diameter, and length of silver nanostructures were characterized by Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM). The polyol synthesis was optimized by implementation of a parametric study and Design of Experiment (DoE) procedure to maximize the yield of AgNWs. AgNWs with high aspect ratio and high quality were also synthesized by the polyol process in a continuous millifluidic reactor. Water-based AgNW inks adaptable for screen printing were formulated, and their rheological behavior was investigated by several rheological tests including the Peak Hold (PH), Steady State Flow (SSF), Stress Sweep (SS), and Frequency Sweep (FS) tests. Viscosity recovery after high shear was correlated with the Stretched Exponential model (SEmo). Activation energies for flow and for viscosity recovery were measured. Together with dimensional analysis, this data was used to assess the mechanism of recovery as due to wire-wire interactions rather than Brownian motion. The inks were printed on a substrate and characterized by line definition and conductivity.