Technical Articles

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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Who's the Biggest Troublemaker in Your ESD-Protected AreaPlastics. They seem so unassuming, but did you know they’re the most likely to wreak havoc on your sensitive components? For ESD purposes, materials are classified by their resistance to the movement of electricity.

Plastics and other synthetic materials are insulators. They trap electric charges on their surfaces, cannot easily transfer charges and aren’t easily grounded.

Metals, carbon and people, on the other hand, are conductors. Their charges are easily transferred with the right equipment. All-Spec carries a wide selection of personal grounding supplies from major brands to keep your workplace ESD-safe.

As for that pesky, plastic insulator? It’s definitely a bum rap! With more than 100 different types of air ionizers, All-Spec stocks what you need to rid your protected areas of the damage caused by these culprits for good.

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Down with LEDs: Do Your Lights Lack Focus?

by Kathy S. on August 10, 2015

Down with LEDs--Do Your Lights Lack FocusDo you have a one-track mind? Hey, it works for LEDs. Their “brains” are only the size of a fleck of pepper! LED, or light emitting diode, converts energy into light. But, because it’s a diode the current only flows through it in one direction. If you try to make the current flow in the reverse direction, it won‘t work, and you won’t get any light.

This may sound particularly close-minded of today’s favored light source, but you can use this tunnel vision to your advantage. Conventional light sources cast a lot of light backward and require more reflectors and diffusers that can trap light. More than half of the light may never leave the fixture. Since LEDs emit light in one direction—downward—they are more efficient than incandescent bulbs and CFLs in recessed downlights and task lighting. Pretty smart for a pepper-sized brain!

When it comes to the task at hand, All-Spec carries the LED lighting solutions you need to help keep you on even the narrowest of tracks.

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Single- and Dual-Wire Monitors--Which Performs Better Under the Big TopHave you ever compared electronics assembly to tightrope walking? While some days you may feel as though you’ve joined the circus, the common denominator here is—or should be—the beloved safety net. Without it, one misstep and your tightrope performance may fall flat.

What about in the workplace? What happens if an operator’s wrist strap malfunctions? Will your single-wire monitor catch you? With the dual-wire continuous monitor, even if one conductor is severed, you can always fall back on a reliable path-to-ground with the other one.

Single-wire continuous monitors, also known as impedance monitors, are also easily fooled. Great for your tightrope-turned-magic act, but not so great for safeguarding sensitive components. Single-wire monitors send a signal down the wire to the wrist strap expecting to find a mass (a person) at the end of the coil; they cannot determine if a person is actually electrically connected.

Dual-wire continuous monitors or resistance monitors, on the other hand, measure the resistance of the wrist strap in combination with the person, and signal an alarm if the product exceeds preset levels.

For the performance of a lifetime, shop All-Spec. We carry a broad selection of foolproof, dual-wire continuous monitors, so you can rest assured a reliable path-to-ground in just about every situation.

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10 Quick Tips for Tackling Cleanroom Wet SpillsWet spills are often embarrassing. Lingering mystery smudges? They’re just plain tacky. Depending on your environment, these are the least of your concerns.

Chemical spills in your cleanroom can be costly and dangerous. Consider the following guidelines for wiping contaminants and spills quickly, effectively and safely:

  1. Always identify spilled liquids as soon as possible.
  2. Follow the liquid’s Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS).
  3. Select durable wipers for the task at hand.
  4. Select gloves that will not deteriorate with use.
  5. For hazardous spills, wear two pairs of gloves.
  6. If possible, keep gloves dry during cleanup of hazardous spills.
  7. Wear all essential protective gear during cleanup of hazardous spills.
  8. Use dry wipers to absorb liquid immediately.
  9. Clean all affected surfaces according to your site’s protocols.
  10. Dispose of wipers according to your site’s established procedures.

Don’t be caught unawares. Comply with your facility’s SOPs, and stock plenty of cleaning and protective supplies in case of minor or major chemical spills in your cleanroom. With All-Spec’s selection of wipers, gloves and other PPE garments, you’ll make quick work of all of your cleanroom spills. As for those other wet spills? Can we recommend a good drycleaner?

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