Skip to main content

Decorative Applications for Self-Organized Molecular Electrochromic Systems

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - DecoChrom (Decorative Applications for Self-Organized Molecular Electrochromic Systems)

Reporting period: 2019-07-01 to 2020-12-31

The DecoChrom project elevates printed graphics products to the age of interactivity, and empowers the creative industries with the tools and innovative advanced material sets to design and build aesthetically pleasing practical human interfaces to smart consumer goods and environments. The DecoChrom consortium develops printed electrochromics (EC) as the mass producible, print industry compatible, ultra low-power interactive graphics solution for ambient intelligence. DecoChrom will scale-up the production of advanced composite materials into 3 innovative ink EC colours, manufacturing process on different materials (plastic foil, high-pressure laminates and 3D durable plastic parts), wide dissemination and creation of EC toolkits to introduce electrochromics to designers, makers and the printing industry, and finally the co-creation of more than 20 creative industry lead end-user prototypes and pilots for architecture, interior design, lifestyle and sports.

The project currently consists of an interdisciplinary consortium of 14 partners, industry and research balanced, with state-of-the-art backgrounds in design, chemistry, printing, coatings and laminates, electronics system integration, and complete electrochromics solutions.
The work packages (WP) in DecoChrom have addressed the following topics during period 1:

WP1 has explored the synthesis and scale up of electrochromic materials. The main achievements being: a) the synthesis of multiple new red-colored electrochromic polymers; b) their introduction into electrochromic devices which have been fully characterised; c) the development of a half ITO-free electrochromic device; d) the optimisation of the synthetic procedures for the upscaling of electrochromic polymers.

WP2, focusing on the creation of EC displays, has achieved: a) the successful over-molding of functional EC devices including higher-temperature polymers such as PC and PMMA as well as TPU; b) optimization of the conditions to develop a functional baseline of embedded EC in high pressure laminates; c) the effective production of EC display samples to support parallel developments across the project.

WP3 provides cross-disciplinary input to the DecoChrom project bringing together material science, electronics and design. It has designed complementing electronic components, developed integration techniques, and provided enabling components and component integration technologies for the developed prototypes and demos.

In the Design and Pilots work package (WP4), numerous prototypes have been successfully designed and built based on the electrochromic materials available at the start of the project. Various display printing and assembly techniques have been explored and a toolkit, enabling artists and designers to create EC displays, has been delivered.

The project dissemination (WP5) has established a broad range of dissemination channels, including the establishment of a Special Interest Group. DecoChrom activities have been presented at leading industry exhibitions, such as CES’19, Interzum 19, PrintoCent Innofest 18/19, oe-a electronica’18 and IDTechEx, as well as major scientific conferences, such as IME-13, CHI’19 and NordiCHI’18 as well as presentations at institutes such as the European Academy of Science (EURASC). An artistic and design exhibition has been held and 7 hands-on display design and construction workshops have been held with over 100 participants.

WP6, looking at lifecycle issues, has defined system boundaries, the functional unit of the LCA and the methodological approach to be used. In the preliminary assessment analysis will be ‘cradle-to-gate’ and then extended in later phases of the project, to include end of life issues. For lifetime cost analysis, the first LCC outcomes will be calculated over a time horizon of 20 years. For social-LCA, a first stakeholder analysis has beenperformed in order to select the relevant groups on which social investigations will be focused.
During the period 1, progress towards the targeted impacts has been demonstrated through:
1) Design prototypes demonstrating benefits such as: a) Calm, aesthetic interfaces embedded into living environments (e.g. smart wallpaper and embedded weather display) b) Flexible EC displays, integrated into footwear and clothing. c) Dynamic customisation through embedding EC elements in clothing.
2) Steps towards integration into end-user products through: a) The developed red ink providing an extended EC colour palette, to meet designer requirements b) The designer toolkit, enabling designers to begin prototyping with EC materials c) New approaches for electronic integration of EC displays in systems.
3) New innovation strategies and practices along the value chain have been addressed by: a) Leveraging the printed electronics know-how and infrastructure of the project partners towards new application areas. b) Demonstrating the broad potential for EC displays, beyond the current labelling and window shading, through the wide variety of prototypes delivered by the project.
4) Increasing awareness of designers about new materials through numerous hands-on workshops and the establishment of a Special Interest Group, supported by the delivered designer toolkit enabling designers and the maker community to start working with printed electrochromics.
DecoChrom: Examples of the deliverables achieved during period 1