Stretchable Metal Conductors May Foil Coiled Springs

by Kathy S. on September 9, 2015

Stretchable Metal Conductors May Foil Coiled SpringsA new advancement in flexible electronics may prove advantageous by any stretch of the imagination—stretchable metal. The new discovery, by researchers at Washington State University, allows metal films to stretch to twice their size and may be ideally suited for bendable batteries, robotic skins, wearable devices and connected fabrics.

The research is the first step to overcoming the challenges of metal, coiled springs used by manufacturers for years. While the springs stretch and maintain connectivity, they take up space that complicates the design of high-density circuitry. Also, electricity must travel farther in coiled springs, so devices utilize more power and larger batteries.

During testing, metal films, made out of indium, were bonded to a plastic layer commonly used in electronics and stretched to two times their original size. Ultimately, the plastic layer broke, not the metal.

Researchers have filed for a patent and published their findings in Applied Physics Letters.

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