Polyurethane foams may hold the secret to fully flexible electronics

URETHANES TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

Published: June 12, 2013 10:48 am ET
Updated: June 12, 2013 10:49 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Electronics

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND — Thin metal films coated on soft elastomeric foam substrates such as polyurethane have enhanced electromechanical performance, according to a paper published in Advanced Materials, a peer review journal.

Stéphanie Lacour, a professor at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne leads the team of researchers carrying out the work. They have found that when open-cell foams are stretched, the thin layer of capping elastomer which leads to cracks and folds localised above foam cells. The surrounding cell ligaments remain almost strain free allowing a stable electrical conductor to be embedded in the cell structure.

Her team showed that a metallic film placed on a polyurethane foam substrate can be stretched in a reversible manner, without disrupting its electrical conductivity. So it could be possible to produce flexible electronic circuits.

"Up to now, to find an appropriate substrate, we mainly worked on full and uniform elastomers," she explained. "Now, we're exploring new kinds of flexible, but heterogeneous, substrates in the form of foams. A more or less dense network of air bubbles inserted in an elastic matrix lets us modulate the elasticity of the substrate."

On a uniform elastomeric substrate, tension tests revealed the creation of micro-fissures in the metallic layer, which would eventually result in the rupture of the conducting network. But with foam substrates, these cracks only occurred above the air bubbles.

"Between the bubbles, the metal remained intact. The conducting network is thus maintained and can function," she explained. "Our measurements showed that we could achieve a level of elasticity over 100 percent without disrupting the network. These metallic pathways built upon foam could thus be used as electrodes, sensors or interconnections for the electronic skin that we're developing."


Comments

Polyurethane foams may hold the secret to fully flexible electronics

URETHANES TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

Published: June 12, 2013 10:48 am ET
Updated: June 12, 2013 10:49 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Smartphone work adds 52 percent to sales for China's Eva Precision

September 18, 2014 4:37 pm ET

Growth in supplying the smartphone and automotive industries helped Chinese processor Eva Precision Holdings Ltd. push injection molding sales up 52...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook – North America

This in-depth report analyzes economic and market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as growth strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events